The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Scindia shuns Scindia

Bhopal, Aug. 13: Having fallen between two political stools, Yashodhara Raje Scindia has taken a short sanyas from politics and is off to Tirupati.

Yashodhara may have quit the BJP, but the Congress is not quite ready to let her join its flock.

The biggest obstacle to her entry into the Congress is her nephew Jyotiraditya Scindia. Yashodhara is reportedly very close to Jyotiraditya, the so-called new maharaja of Gwalior and the emerging number two in the state Congress, but that has not stopped the nephew from opposing her entry.

Scindia junior has told Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh that there can be “only one Scindia in the Congress”.

The blunt message has sobered the Kamal Nath-led lobby which was trying hard to induct Yashodhara, a former BJP MLA.

The legislator’s hopes were further dashed when Digvijay said he would not let Yashodhara join the Congress at Jyotiraditya’s expense. The chief minister told Sonia he was not “too keen” on Yashodhara’s entry if it antagonised her nephew. Digvijay made it clear that Yashodhara had not met him before quitting the BJP.

There are few options left for Yashodhara, who was sulking at the BJP’s refusal to entertain her demands for removing the Shivpuri district party chief and taking a stronger stand against a Congress strongman. The BJP made it clear that it would not allow her to undermine its chief ministerial nominee Uma Bharti.

Madhya Pradesh has no credible third force and given Yashodhara’s relative inexperience, any new formation is unlikely to have a major impact in the election-bound state.

The Bharti camp is elated at the development, saying Yashodhara’s bid to involve L.K. Advani in state BJP affairs had boomeranged. They said the deputy Prime Minister, who has always opposed removing district party chiefs on election- eve, wished to maintain discipline and not hurt the BJP’s electoral prospects.

Yashodhara confirmed she had quit the BJP. Referring to the resignation letter she sent to BJP state unit chief Kailash Joshi last Thursday, the MLA said: “I had sent a letter and it has been returned to me but I am not reconsidering my decision.” The BJP leadership had reportedly asked her to meet Bharti and sort out her differences.

Sources say the party leadership did not take kindly to the timing of Yashodhara’s move, coming as it did three days before Atal Bihari Vajpayee was to address a public meeting in Rajasthan. Her sister Vasundhara Raje is the BJP’s chief ministerial nominee there.

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