The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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BJP loses a Scindia

Bhopal, Aug. 8: Yashodhara Raje Scindia quit the BJP today, causing huge embarrassment to the party in election-bound Madhya Pradesh and to sister Vasundhara Raje Scindia.

Vasundhara is the BJP’s candidate for chief minister in the coming Assembly polls in Rajasthan.

There was no official confirmation of her resignation here. But senior state BJP leaders acknowledged that Yashodhara, an MLA, was sulking and a serious difference of opinion had cropped up during her meeting with Uma Bharti two days ago.

Among other things, Yashodhara apparently wanted to shift from Shivpuri to Gwalior, the Scindia family pocketborough. She was also disappointed at the party’s failure to take on K.P. Singh, a local Congress strongman, in and outside the Assembly.

Yashodhara told some of her supporters today in Shivpuri that she was leaving the party. She, however, declined to confirm or deny speculation that she would join the Congress.

A few days ago, Yashodhara had thrown a dinner for state leaders, giving no indication of her intention.

Congress leaders said chief minister Digvijay Singh had been sending her feelers over the past few months. Yashodhara is said to be extremely close to her nephew Jyotiraditya Scindia, the so-called new maharaja of Gwalior and emerging number two in the state Congress.

Sources close to Bharti said her exit would not make much difference in Madhya Pradesh as Yashodhara, unlike mother Rajmata Scindia or brother Madhavrao Scindia, has not been politically important outside the Gwalior-Shivpuri region.

But senior BJP leaders concede that Yashodhara’s departure could hurt Vasundhara in Rajasthan, particularly if the younger sister decides to join the Congress. The timing of her exit would provide the Congress a handle to embarrass the BJP’s chief ministerial nominee.

The Scindias have seldom spoken against one another in public in spite of their political differences. Only once, the late Rajmata Scindia had launched a tirade against Madhavrao Scindia but the son held his silence.

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