Jyotiraditya Scindia after joining the BJP. File photo
Jyotiraditya Scindia after joining the BJP. File photo
ANI

Posters often play a key role in signalling which way is the political wind blowing.

In 2016, BJP National Executive in Uttar Pradesh posters featuring Varun Gandhi had irked Modi-Shah who saw it as Gandhi aspiring for the UP CM post. Much before Delhi poll counting began, state BJP had erected a massive Amit Shah poster that read "Victory doesn't make us egoistic, and defeat doesn't disappoint us". Many saw this as acceptance of defeat even before the counting started.

Now, as 24 Assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh goes to bypoll, Jyoiraditya Scindia's ardent follower who switched side to BJP -- Tulsi Silawat, has put up BJP posters sans Scindia's face, sparking off speculations about "the Maharaja's role", if any, in this election that the Congress so desperately wanted to make it look like 'Scindia Vs Kamal Nath' battle.

At the centre of the controversy are posters of Tulsi Silawat, Madhya Pradesh Water Resources Minister. He is expecting to contest from Indore on behalf of BJP this time. However, in the posters that are plastered across the constituency, all big and not-so-big BJP leaders find a place but the man who orchestrated his entry into BJP -- Jyotiraditya Scindia.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan to BJP national General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, even the area MP Shankar Lalwani finds a place but Scindia, whose very role in this crucial bypoll will come under scanner.

"I will reiterate what I have been saying. His ardent supporters who were ready to do anything at one call of Scindia, have forgotten him," mocks Congress's state Spokesperson Narendra Saluja. He adds that those who joined BJP at the behest of Scindia have a new leader - Shivraj Singh Chauhan.

The absence of Scindia in BJP posters that Congress wants to make into a direct fight between Scindia and Kamal Nath becomes even more stark as Chauhan has thrown his entire might behind Silawat, to get him selected.

One recently purported video that created quite a storm where the Congress alleged Shivraj to be saying, "Central leadership has decided that the (Congress) government should fall" was made in Sanwer, the constituency of Scindia's trusted aide Silawat.

In fact, former minister in Kamal Nath government, Jitu Patwari held a press conference to say, "During the Indore visit on Monday, Chief Minister Chouhan accepted before his party's activists from Sanwer that he toppled the government at the instance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP National President J.P. Nadda."

But BJP rubbishes any suggestion of Scindia being sidelined within the BJP. Party's national Spokesperson Zafar ISlam told IANS: "These suggestions stem from Congress's insecurity. Mr Scindia's standing is well acknowledged within BJP. Together, we will make Congress lose all seats in the upcoming by poll in MP."

However, it's not just about missing Jyotiraditya Scindia in BJP posters in Madhya Pradesh but also the way he is being addressed to, after his switch. Being a royal, during his decade-long stint in Congress, Scindia was addressed to either as "Maharajji" or "Srimant". That's definitely not the case in BJP.

No wonder K.K. Mishra, who was appointed media in-charge in the Gwalior-Chambal area by the Congress, took a dig at him. He posted a tweet that said: "What a joke! The word 'Srimant' is missing from the name of the person who joined the BJP on March 11. His name is at the sixth place in the list of election coordination committee of the BJP. While the word 'Srimant' is very much there against the name of a candidate from Maharashtra -- Srimanta Udayana Raje Bhonsle!! joke?"

Bhonsle is a BJP Rajya Sabha member.

Scindia has also been away from the Gwalior-Chambal region -- his karmabhoomi, for the last few months owing to the nationwide lockdown and now admitted in hospital after being tested positive for corona. While this unavoidable absence from the ground may have given Scindia baiters an upper hand in Madhya Pradesh, but his trusted aide Silawat's poster without his face or name has only intensified speculations about the standing of the "Maharaja of Gwalior" in BJP.

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