Discord continues to roil MP BJP: Scindia lieutenant drives back to Cong in ‘1,200-car convoy’ | Political Pulse News

For the past few months, tensions have been mounting between Scindia camp and BJP old guard; Samandar Patel third aide of Union Minister to quit in as many months

Madhya Pradesh MLA Samandar Patel, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Kamal Nath, Madhya Pradesh Congress, India news, Indian express, Indian express India news, Indian express IndiaMadhya Pradesh MLA Samandar Patel

Madhya Pradesh MLA Samandar Patel who followed Jyotiraditya Scindia to the BJP in 2020 and brought down the Kamal Nath-led Congress government returned to the Congress on Friday, alleging “suffocation” in the ruling party.

Patel led a “1,200-car convoy” while travelling from his constituency Jawad to Bhopal to submit his resignation papers at the BJP office. Patel is the third Scindia loyalist in as many months to have gone back to the Congress and that too in a similar style — with a show of strength using massive car rallies.

On June 14, Shivpuri BJP leader Baijnath Singh Yadav cut ties with Scindia and organised a 700-car rally. Former BJP Shivpuri district vice president Rakesh Kumar Gupta followed suit on June 26, also organising a car rally.

“I left the party with Maharaj (Scindia). But soon, I felt suffocated within the BJP. I was not invited to any events. I was not given respect and a position of power,” Patel told The Indian Express.

Differences within MP BJP

Friday’s move marks Patel’s second return to the Congress. He first quit the Congress in 2018 after being denied a ticket in that year’s Assembly polls. He contested as an Independent that year, cutting into the Congress’s prospects by polling 35,000 votes on his own and emerging victorious. He rejoined the Congress ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, leaving it soon after, in March 2020, with Scindia’s group of 22 MLAs.

But trouble started as he joined the ruling party and he got embroiled in a bitter public feud with state Cabinet minister Omprakash Saklecha. “My supporters were constantly humiliated by Sakhlecha’s camp. Multiple false cases were filed against them over petty fights. That was when I decided to leave,” Patel said.

The MLA claimed he did not have a problem with Scindia. “I still have respect for Maharaj ji. He tried to solve my issue personally and also scolded the BJP leaders for feuding with me. But he is a big leader and a Union Minister, he could not always come to my aid.”

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Scindia has had to grapple with infighting in the MP BJP unit recently, with tensions mounting between his group of supporters and party old-timers. A leader from the Scindia camp said Patel’s move could be a loss to the BJP. “Patel is a big leader in Neemuch. He was financially strong and supported the party. Scindia was his godfather. He was like Scindia’s lieutenant.”

Another leader from the Union Minister’s camp said “many more supporters would return to the Congress” soon. “There is no point in talking to these leaders because the BJP is not sorting out its differences with Scindia loyalists. What can we do about it?” After exiting, Patel levelled corruption allegations against Saklesha.

Patel started as the sarpanch of the Limbodi Gram Panchayat, a post he held onto for four consecutive terms from 1994 to 2015. He is from the Dhakad community, which is categorised as Other Backward Class (OBC) and has a 24% vote share in Jawad. He is among the richest leaders in the state, with declared assets of Rs 89 crore in the poll affidavit.

© The Indian Express (P) Ltd

First published on: 19-08-2023 at 04:00 IST

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