GWALIOR: BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia on Sunday said that although the Congress's top leadership had offered to make him the deputy chief minister of Madhya Pradesh after the 2018 state polls, when he was still in that party, he had turned down the offer as he decided to work for the people.
He alleged that the Congress had betrayed the people of the state with false promises to come to power.
"The Congress's top leadership had offered me deputy chief minister's post. Instead, I decided to work for the people," the BJP Rajya Sabha member said while addressing his party's three-day long membership drive, which will end here on Monday.
This is for the first time that Scindia has publicly admitted that he was offered this post by the Congress.
In March this year, veteran Congress leader Digvijaya Singh had said that Scindia was offered the post of MP deputy chief minister, but Kamal Nath had refused to accept a "chela".
Scindia said, "I understood that Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh will ruin the Congress government in 15 months. The Congress betrayed the people with false promises like waiver of farm loan in 10 days in order to come to power in the state."
"Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had promised that farm loans of up to to Rs 2 lakh will be waived within 10 days or else the chief minister will be sent back on the eleventh day," he said.
"Congress made false promises to come to the power in the state," he alleged.
Scindia had quit the Congress in March this year and later joined the BJP.
On the Congress's agitation against the BJP's membership drive in Gwalior, Scindia said, "At least they (Congress leaders) came out of their houses to protest against BJP's drive five months after losing the government in MP."
With an eye on the by-elections to 27 assembly constituencies in Madhya Pradesh, especially in Gwalior- Chambal region of the state that accounts for 16 of these seats, the ruling BJP has launched the membership drive here on Saturday.
Twenty-two rebel Congress MLAs in Madhya Pradesh, mostly from the Scindia camp, resigned in March, reducing the 15-month-old dispensation led by Kamal Nath to a minority and paving the way for the BJP to form the government in the state.
These former MLAs had later joined the BJP.
The BJP then sent Scindia to Rajya Sabha, while many of his loyalists got important portfolios in Shivraj Singh Chouhan's cabinet.
Last month, three more Congress MLAs in the state resigned and joined the saffron party, taking their number to 25, while two assembly seats had fallen vacant due to the demise of legislators.
The Congress now has 89 MLAs in the House, while the ruling BJP has 107.
The effective strength of the 230-member House has come down to 203 due to the resignations and deaths of legislators.
Digvijaya's latest allegation against Scindia
Rajya Sabha MP Digvijaya Singh on Sunday hit out at Scindia, saying that the latter left the Congress even as the party had given him "so much".
Singh said leaving Congress was not expected from Scindia and his move has dented the credibility in politics.
Singh's criticism of Scindia came on the day the ruling BJP claimed that as many as 35,843 Congress cadres joined the ruling party in the last two days of its three-day membership drive underway in Gwalior.
However, Singh said that the Congress has grown much stronger in the Gwalior-Chambal region after Scindia quit the party.
The BJP's membership drive began in Gwalior on Saturday.
Talking to reporters here on Sunday, state Energy Minister Pradhyuman Singh Tomar said, "As many as 35,843 Congress leaders and workers joined the BJP in two days in the presence of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and RS member Jyotiraditya Scindia." T
he minister added that former Congress MP from Morena Barelal Jatav and former Congress MLA from Gwalior rural constituency Ramvaran Gurjar on Sunday joined the saffron party.
The Congress, which had held a protest against the BJP's membership drive when it was launched on Saturday, also organised a 'dharna' (sit-in) at the Rani Lakshmi Bai memorial here on Sunday.
After taking part in the protest, Digvijaya Singh said "The Congress has given so much to Scindia, still he left the party. It was not expected from him. This has dented the credibility in politics."
"The massive protest of thousands of Congress cadres on Saturday against the BJP's big membership drive on its opening day, speaks of the fact that the party has grown stronger after Scindia's exit," Singh told reporters in the afternoon.
Congress media in-charge for Gwalior-Chambal region K K Mishra said that his party held the protest as the ruling BJP violated the COVID-19 protocols.
"The BJP function in Gwalior is being held in violation of the lockdown rules imposed in the state to curb the spread of coronavirus," he added.
Meanwhile, Chouhan, Scindia, Union minister Narendra Tomar and state BJP president V D Sharma have been holding talks with the party's public representatives and office- bearers in the region to chalk out a strategy for the yet-to- be announced bypolls for 27 seats in the state, 16 of them from Gwalior-Chambal region.
Twenty-two Congress MLAs, mostly from the Scindia camp, resigned in March, reducing the Kamal Nath-led dispensation to a minority and paving the way for the BJP to form the government.
Scindia and these former MLAs then joined the BJP.
Last month, three more Congress MLAs resigned and joined the saffron party.
Two other assembly seats have fallen vacant due to the death of legislators.