Senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia faced a humiliating defeat in the Lok Sabha elections when he lost his family bastion of Guna to his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rival Krishna Pal Singh by a margin of 1,25,549 votes. Once a loyal Congress worker, Krishna Pal decided to quit the party after the Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections just because he was denied permission to click a selfie with Scindia. Krishna Pal then joined the BJP and was nominated against Scindia from Guna.
The fight in Guna appeared to be one-sided when the BJP named Krishna Pal as its candidate and BSP nominee Lokendra Singh Rajpoot announced support to Scindia’s candidature. Political pundits and media largely predicted that Krishna Pal has no base and stands nowhere in the fight against Scindia. The Congress leadership including Scindia looked very assured about retaining the seat. However, the electoral mathematics of Congress failed and the party lost the seat to a low-profile BJP leader.
However, the story behind this remarkable turn of fortunes reveals the grit and determination that guided Yadav to this victory. A photo being widely circulated on social media shows Krishna Pal trying to click a selfie with Scindia who was sitting inside his vehicle. According to several media reports, when the BJP announced that Krishna Pal as its candidate to take on Scindia in his family stronghold, the Congress MP’s wife Priyadarshini Raje Scindia had shared a photo of the BJP leader with her husband on social media and ridiculed him saying that a man who once stood waiting in queues for clicking a selfie with the Maharaj, is now the BJP’s nominee.
Krishna Pal, a doctor by profession, was once a close aide of Scindia and was in charge of Scindia’s election campaign. But things started falling out of the line for Scindia after the last Assembly elections when Krishna Pal decided to quit the Congress. Pal announced his departure from the Congress after he was ignored by Scindia. He said that the party leadership has failed to recognise his hard work in the region. Krishna Pal’s father was also a Congress worker and served as the party’s Ashok Nagar district unit chief.
After the results were out on May 23, Scindia took to Twitter to congratulate Krishna Pal. He said, “I humbly accept the people’s mandate. For me, politics is a medium to serve the people and I am committed serving the people. I thank all the voters, Congress workers who worked for me. Congratulations to Dr KP Yadav on his win.”
The Guna Lok Sabha seat falls in the Gwalior-Chambal region of Madhya Pradesh. Barring 1952, 1962 and 1984, the Scindia family won every election from here since 1957. In 1952, 1962 and 1984, no one from the Scindia family contested from the seat. Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia was the first member of the Scindia family to contest elections in 1957 from Guna. At that time, she had contested on a Congress ticket. The seat was represented by Vijaya Raje in the Lok Sabha six times. Barring 1957, Vijaya Raje never contested on a Congress ticket due to differences with Indira Gandhi. In 1967, Vijaya Raje had contested as a Swatantra Party candidate. Her son, Madhavrao Scindia who returned India from the UK after completing his study in 197 at the age of 26, continued the family tradition of joining politics and contested from Guna on a Bharatiya Jan Sangh member. A nine-term member of the Lok Sabha, Madhavrao never lost an election since 1971. He represented the seat till 1984 — once as an independent and Indian National Congress (Indira) candidate.
In 1989, Madhavrao’s mother Vijaya Raje contested from here on a BJP ticket and went on to represent the seat till her death in January 2001. When by-elections were held, her son Madhavrao contested on a Congress ticket. However, he also died in September same year. Then his son Jyotiradiya Scindia contested the bypoll and went on to win all the general elections held since then.