"What's Wrong With Chanting 'Jai Shri Ram'?": Jyotiraditya Scindia

Jyotiraditya Scindia admitted that it was hard to adjust to a different party after two decades with the Congress but credited his BJP colleagues with helping him with the cultural fit.

The BJP was leading in a majority of the 28 assembly seats where bypolls took place on November 3 (File)

Jyotiraditya Scindia, after scoring big wins for the BJP versus his former party Congress in bypolls in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday, said he was "always a worker on the ground" and did not expect any posts as rewards.

Mr Scindia admitted that it was hard to adjust to a different party after two decades with the Congress but credited his BJP colleagues with helping him with the cultural fit.

The BJP was leading in a majority of the 28 assembly seats where bypolls took place on November 3.

Most of these seats fell vacant when 22 Congress members followed Mr Scindia out of the Congress to the BJP in March, taking down the Kamal Nath government.

The BJP formed a government after that; it needed eight more seats in the 230-member house to stay in power.

Asked whether he expected a post from the BJP, Mr Scindia said: "I have always been a worker on the ground. That was my role and will be. I have never been in the race for the chair like some others in the Congress, who I don't want to name."

He also generously apportioned credit to his new party.

The Rajya Sabha MP deftly tackled a question about Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP leaders resorting to a narrative during the Bihar campaign revolving around Jai Shri Ram, the Ayodhya temple and "tukde tukde gang" - the name that the ruling party uses to refer to what they allege are "Urban Naxals" trying to divide the country.

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"The Prime Minister is not just the PM of India; he is the PM of 130 crore Indians. What's wrong with chanting Jai Shri Ram? If you are secular, can't you chant Jai Shri Ram? As far as 'tukde tukde gang' is concerned, it's the truth... anyone who challenges the unity of India should be condemned. If the unity of our country is being dismembered, it deserves the harshest punishment," he said.

While Mr Scindia was lavish with praise for his new colleagues and seniors, there was a viral moment during his campaign when he mistakenly appealed to people to vote for "panja" or the hand symbol of the Congress.

"When you move from one firm to the other, it does take time to assimilate, culturally integrate, I don't want to dismiss that…" he admitted.

But he outlined why he felt compelled to make the big shift.

"It was probably the first time that a government formed after 15 years lost the confidence of 22 members including six ministers. That was the Kamal Nath government," Mr Scindia said.

"It is important for a cultural fit to happen. If not, then the union is a failure. That fit took a while to happen and everyone in the BJP worked at it... and you see the result of it now. The BJP works as one unit."