Jyotiraditya Scindia, the Congress leader, is seeking another term in the Lok Sabha from Guna, which he has represented in the lower house of Parliament since 2002. If he wins Guna Lok Sabha seat for the fifth time in a row, a lot of credit would go to his wife Priyadarshini Raje.
A victory for Jyotiraditya Scindia at Guna has not come as a surprise to political pundits. Guna was one of the two seats in Madhya Pradesh which the Congress could manage to win in 2014 Lok Sabha election. The other was Chhindwara from where Kamal Nath was elected. He became the chief minister after Congress’s win in the assembly polls last year.
But 2019 Lok Sabha election is different for Jyotiraditya Scindia. After having missed the deputy chief minister’s post in Madhya Pradesh, he was made Congress general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh West on equal footing with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who was given the responsibility of Uttar Pradesh East.
The Guna MP, Jyotiraditya Scindia, has followed the footsteps of his father late Madharao Scindia (first Jana Sangh and later with Congress) and grandmother Vijaya Raje Scindia (BJP). The three leaders have represented Guna since 1967 except in two elections – 1971 and 1984. They never lost an election from Guna.
With Jyotiraditya Scindia having the responsibility to manage 39 Lok Sabha constituencies for the Congress in Uttar Pradesh, where the party was reduced to mere two seats in the 2014 general elections, he was mostly absent for campaigning in his own constituency.
The BJP, on the other hand, attempted to engineer a coup against the sitting MP by fielding Jyotiraditya Scindia’s close aide KP Yadav from Guna.
Yadav was a trusted lieutenant of Jyotiraditya Scindia till 2018. He switched sides to the BJP earlier this year after the Congress denied him ticket for the bypoll. Yadav contested as BJP candidate from Mungaoli constituency and lost the election with a margin of 2,000 votes.
He is a local candidate unlike BJP’s nominees in 2009 and 2014 – Narottam Mishra from Datia and Jaibhan Singh Pavaiyya from Gwalior respectively.
Jyotiraditya Scindia was facing the first real challenge in Guna this time. His absence from the constituency was telling. In fact, in one of his public meetings, Jyotiraditya Scindia complained that he was not getting support from the locals. This is where Priyadarshini Raje stepped in.
Priyadarshini began canvassing for Jyotiraditya Scindia in February, even before the Election Commission announced the schedule for the Lok Sabha polls. She launched a massive outreach campaign in the constituency.