NEW DELHI/BHOPAL, March 10 - In a massive setback for the Congress, its prominent youth leader Jyotiraditya Scindia quit the party and in a coordinated rebellion on Tuesday 22 MLAs loyal to him resigned in Madhya Pradesh, pushing the 15-month-old Kamal Nath government to the brink of collapse.
Scindia, 49, appeared set to join the BJP, a party which had his late grandmother Vijaya Raje Scindia as one of the leading lights amid speculation he may get a Rajya Sabha ticket and be made a Union Minister.
BJP sources said Scindia, a former Union Minister and a 4-time Lok Sabha MP, is likely to be inducted into the party in the next day or two and certainly before March 13�the last day for filing of nominations for the three Rajya Sabha seats in MP.
A shell-shocked Congress, in a largely symbolic move of no consequence, expelled Scindia, the party general secretary and scion of the erstwhile Gwalior royal family, on charges of anti-party activities.
On Tuesday morning, as much of India was celebrating Holi, Scindia, once considered a rising star of the Congress, met senior BJP leader and Home Minister Amit Shah, following which he called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his 7, Lok Kalyan Marg residence.
There was no official word on what transpired at the meetings.
However, BJP sources asserted that the decision of the party�s top two leaders to hold long deliberations with Scindia underlined the importance they attach to a politician considered close to Rahul Gandhi.
In the resignation letter dated March 9 to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Scindia said �it is now time for me to move on� as he was unable to serve the people of the country while remaining in the party.
The Congress party said his letter was received at Sonia Gandhi�s residence only at 12.20 pm on Tuesday, a day which was also Scindia�s father and Congress leader Madhavrao Scindia�s 75th birth anniversary.
Scindia�s decision to quit was welcomed as ghar wapsi by his paternal aunt and BJP MLA from Madhya Pradesh, Yashodhara Raje. His another paternal aunt Vasundhara Raje is also a BJP leader and a former chief minister of Rajasthan.
His father Madhavrao Scindia had also started his political innings as an MP of the Jana Sangh, the earlier avatar of the BJP, in 1971 but joined the Congress later.
With Scindia�s loyalist MLAs following suit, the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh appeared headed for a collapse and will be reduced to minority if the resignation letters of the 22 legislators are accepted by Assembly Speaker N P Prajapati.
The Congress, whose tally before the rebellion is 114, has a wafer-thin majority in the Assembly whose current effective strength is 228. It also has the support of four Independents, two BSP and one SP.