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Meet the force behind Scindia's poll campaign

By Anil Dubey
May 09, 2019 12:33 IST
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Priyadarshini Scindia, wife of sitting Guna MP Jyotiraditya Scindia, started campaigning in February, going door-to-door, reaching out to a cross-section of voters, listening to their woes and telling them about the work done by her better half.

Anil Dubey/PTI reports

IMAGE: Priyadarshini Scindia with her husband, the sitting Guna MP Jyotiraditya Scindia. Photograph: @PriyadarshiniRajeScindia/Facebook

Behind every successful man is a woman. 

Priyadarshini Scindia, wife of sitting Guna MP Jyotiraditya Scindia, who has been renominated by the Congress from the seat for the polls on May 12, is out to prove the proverb right as she goes from door-to-door, canvassing for her better half. 

Guna, considered the pocket borough of the Scindias -- the erstwhile royal family of Gwalior, was one of the only two seats that the Congress managed to bag in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in Madhya Pradesh. 


The other seat won by the party was Chhindwara. 

Priyadarshini Scindia started campaigning in February, even before the Election Commission of India announced the parliamentary polls, giving Jyotiraditya Scindia a head start over his rivals. 

The Guna MP was appointed the All India Congress Committee general secretary in-charge for western Uttar Pradesh earlier this year. 

IMAGE: Priyadarshini began reaching out to voters in Guna back in February even before the Election Commission announced the date of the polls. Photograph: @PriyadarshiniRajeScindia/Facebook

With her husband pre-occupied with party affairs in the northern state, Priyadarshini Scindia took charge. She has been reaching out to a cross-section of voters, listening to their woes and telling them about the work done by their MP. 

Her close involvement with the campaign even triggered speculation that she may be formally entering politics this year.

Asked about the conjecture, state Congress spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi, known to be close to Jyotiraditya Scindia, said, "This is to be decided by the Scindia family and the Congress. But after seeing her interaction and instant connection with local party workers and common citizens at large, I can certainly say that the Congress has got a leader." 

Chaturvedi said Priyadarshini Scindia has been interacting closely with voters. 

"Priyadarshini ji has been visiting an average of 10-12 villages on most weekdays since February and has reached out to almost every corner of Guna parliamentary seat," he said.

"She collects information about the local problems and informs the people about the work done by Scindia ji. She has been interacting with different communities and social groups," he added.

IMAGE: She has been so closely involved in the campaign that it triggered speculation that she too was joining politics. Photograph: @PriyadarshiniRajeScindia/Facebook

In the Madhya Pradesh assembly polls last year, the Congress did exceedingly well in Gwalior-Chambal region, considered a bastion of the Scindia family. However, its vote share in Guna was less than the Bharatiya Janata Party's.

The Congress bagged five of the eight assembly segments in Guna but it polled 16,000 votes less than the BJP.

In 2014, Scindia had won this seat with a margin of around 1 lakh votes. 

Chaturvedi, however, does not attach much importance to this.

"The entry of Scindia ji in the electoral contest decisively tilted the scales in his favour. There is no significance of assembly poll results," he said. 

IMAGE: The Guna seat has been in the Scindia family since 1952 and Priyadarshini hopes to continue that trend this election too. Photograph: @PriyadarshiniRajeScindia/Facebook

The BJP has fielded K P Yadav, a former Congressman who joined the saffron party earlier this year after being denied ticket for Mungaoli assembly bypoll. 

Guna BJP president Gajendra Sikarwar exuded confidence that Scindia will not be able to retain the seat this time. 

"Scindia has been representing Guna in Parliament for the past one-and-a-half decade, but did nothing for this region. Now people are asking for an account of his work," Sikarwar said.

"Only (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi can save the country and people have started realising this now. Besides, there is huge impact of the development work carried out by the National Democratic Alliance government. People are going to vote to elect a nationalist government," he added.

Since 1952, members of the Scindia family have won 14 times from Guna seat.

Jyotiraditya Scindia first contested the bypoll from this constituency in 2002, following his father's death in a plane crash. He has held onto the seat ever since.


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Anil Dubey
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