Jyotiraditya Scindia: The prince who could be king

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Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Currently the Power Minister in the Central Government, Jyotiraditya Scindia is the Chief of the Campaign Committee in Madhya Pradesh and is also seen as the de facto Chief Ministerial candidate of the Congress. Jyotiraditya’s strength comes from his lineage and proximity to Rahul Gandhi. Compared with other politicians in Madhya Pradesh, he is seen as a young, new generation politician. Scindia has been a minister for seven out of the last ten years he has spent in Delhi – all this makes him a star performer among the Congress cadres. But the problem which he faces is that of controlling the various factions operating within the Madhya Pradesh Congress.

Jyotiraditya Scindia has an unblemished track record – there have been no allegations against him since he became a minister. He is the inheritor of a respected legacy – his family has done philanthropic work in various cities of the state. There are also many schools and colleges run by the Scindia family. His father had first come up with the concept of Shatabdi trains and the Bhopal Shatabdi was the first Shatabdi train that was introduced in India.

Scindia joined politics in 2002 – he was just 31 years old – after the tragic death of his father in a plane crash. He contested his first Lok Sabha election in a by-poll from his father’s constituency. Prior to joining politics, he was working as an investment banker in Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley. At present, the 42-year-old Jyotiraditya Scindia is married to Priyadarshini, daughter of Sangram Singh Gaekwad of Baroda, and has an 18-year-old son, Maharyaman. Like his father, Scindia is also a cricket enthusiast and is currently the President of the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Board.

Jyotiraditya Scindia is a three-term MP and his first shot at a ministry berth came in 2006 when he was appointed Minister of State in the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. In 2009, he was once again inducted in the Council of Ministers with the portfolio of Commerce and Industry. As MoS in Commerce, he worked towards stopping investment flowing out of Madhya Pradesh. He was insistent that part of the Gwalior/Chambal belt be included in the industrial corridor between Delhi and Mumbai as he felt that the presence of industry would help cater to the economic needs of people from the region. This proposal did not find favour with the ruling BJP, and soon faded out. His big break came when he was given independent charge of the Power Ministry. On his table in Shram Shakti Bhawan, which houses the Power Ministry, Scindia keeps a five-page list which gives details of priority programs and their status. It also includes major issues being raised in the Power sector, and how the Power Ministry corresponds with the Coal and Environment ministries. The list is updated daily and it also has the names of officers who are responsible for delivering results. An alumnus of The Doon School and Harvard University, officers say he has brought in professionalism in the Power Ministry.

Jyotiraditya hails from the Gwalior/Chambal division of Madhya Pradesh where the total number of seats are 34, out of which the Congress holds 12. There are eight districts in this division: Gwalior, Datia, Bhind, Morena, Ashok Nagar, Guna, Sheopur and Shivpuri. The BSP also has a foothold in this area with four seats. Since this division touches both UP and Rajasthan, the voting pattern in Rajasthan affects it as well. Perhaps this is the best performance of the Congress in a division.

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