Madhavrao Scindia, the former maharaja of the princely state of Gwalior and a people-friendly politician in a cruel twist of fate died on September 30, 2001. The royal king lost his life in a plane crash on the outskirts of Mainpuri district of Uttar Pradesh. His aristocratic lineage, personal charm, articulateness, youthful image and talent for the rough and tumble of democratic politics shaped his mass appeal and still after his untimely death, he is still remembered by his followers and people.
It's been 20 years since Madhavrao Scindia passed away who had one point of time become the second biggest crowd-puller in the Congress party and could have also become India’s Prime Minister in 2004, however his untimely death washed away the expectations.
On his 20th death anniversary, let's remember Madhavrao Scindia and a look at some of his facts:
Madhavrao Scindia's early life:
Scindia was born in royal maratha family, the last ruling Maharaja of Gwalior, Jivajirao Scindia. He underwent his schooling in Scindia School, Gwalior and thereafter went for higher studies in Winchester College and at New College, Oxford. The dynasty was founded in 1726 by Ranuji Scindia and ruled the erstwhile state of Gwalior which was based in present-day Madhya Pradesh.
On his return from the UK, Scindia followed the political tradition set by his mother Vijaya Raje Scindia by joining politics. He was elected to the Lok Sabha (the lower house of the Indian parliament) in 1971 from Gwalior.
Madhavrao Scindia entry into politics:
Within a year of returning to India, Madhavrao contested and won the 1971 general elections on a Jana Sangh ticket from Guna constituency in Madhya Pradesh. His mother Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia was already a member of the Sangh.
After the Emergency was declared in June 1975, Madhavrao fled to England. He, then, resigned from the Jana Sangh and returned to India.
Despite firm resistance from his family, Madhavrao joined the Congress and successfully won the Guna constituency in the 1980 elections.
However, in order to avoid a direct clash with his mother Vijaya Raje, Madhavrao contested elections from Gwalior constituency in the 1984 elections and achieved the distinction of defeating the man who would become Bharatiya Janata Party’s first prime minister — Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Madhavrao Scindia was elected to the Lok Sabha for nine terms.
Madhavrao Scindia's notable portfolios:
Throughout his political career, Scindia held several important posts. During his tenure as the railway minister in Rajiv Gandhi’s administration between 1984 to 1986, Madhavrao successfully introduced the Shatabdi Express. He is also credited with the modernisation and computerisation of railways.
Madhavrao also served as civil aviation and tourism minister in P.V Narasimha Rao’s government between 1991 and 1993. He faced a difficult time as aviation minister due to agitation by Indian Airlines staff. He resigned from the post following a plane crash.
In 1995, he was part of the Union cabinet as human resource development minister.
Madhavrao played an important role for the Congress after Sonia Gandhi took charge as the Congress president in 1998.
Gandhi who was not so at all fluent in Hindi often asked Madhavrao to perform parliamentary responsibilities. He played a major role in handling party affairs both in and outside Parliament.
Additionally, a keen cricketer, Madhavrao also served the Board of Control for Cricket in India between 1990 and 1993 as its president.
Madhavrao's family members in politics:
Madhavrao’s family members are still very much actively involved in politics.
His son Jyotiraditya Scindia is a senior Congress leader who is currently in charge of All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh West.
Madhavrao’s sister Vasundhara Raje Scindia has served as Rajasthan chief minister between 2003 and 2008 and 2013 and 2018, and the other sister, Yashodhara Raje Scindia, was minister of commerce, industries and employment in Madhya Pradesh government between 2013 and 2018.