The induction of Jyotiraditya Scindia into the BJP will be of little significance without delivering the government of Madhya Pradesh to the party. As has been seen in similar attempted and successful coups in the past few years, the Judiciary has become more proactive, creating complications for the best of plans. Speakers of Legislative Assemblies interpret resignations and proceedings in the House in a manner that creates opportunities for governments with lost majorities to approach the courts. Uttarakhand is a prime example of this, where politics went through many twists and turns before a representative government could be formed.
Scindia is expected to deliver the necessary number of legislators to the BJP so that the Kamal Nath led Congress Government in Madhya Pradesh can be toppled. For this, he will be given a Rajya Sabha seat and possibly a ministerial post. The supporting legislators, on their part, will have to lose their seats in the Assembly and seek re- election later. If the Speaker uses his powers to disqualify them for breaking the anti-defection law or defying the party whip, etc., they will have to face the onerous task of convincing the courts to reinstate their right to contest elections. Also, there is no guarantee that they will win the election, even with the backing of the BJP. As such, they will need and expect to be suitably compensated for the trouble. This surely must have been an aspect of the negotiations that took place before Scindia’s crossing over.
While all this will play out in the future – the Speaker of the MP Assembly not having ruled on the matter till mid-Wednesday– there is widespread concern, even among the most loyal Lutyens commentators, about the state of affairs within the Congress. Scindia’s leaving is as much a blow as Uddhav Thackeray’s betrayal of the BJP in Maharashtra. The difference is that the BJP had the strategic depth to absorb it, while the Congress, on its part, is already on ventilator support. Questions are being asked by even the most blind of supporters about the viability of the Gandhi Parivar leading the party. After all, Scindia was a close associate of Rahul Gandhi and one of the most vociferous critics of the BJP. What kind of blind leadership has succeeded in alienating him? The cascading effect of this is going to be experienced in other states, too, beginning with Jharkhand. The Congress will come to be seen not just as a consistent loser, but also the wrong horse to back given its poor management, even of success.