Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia today claimed that he has no regrets about not being appointed as the Madhya Pradesh chief minister, saying that he had simply "accepted" what the party high command told him to do.
"It's important in life to practice what you preach, and I had said that I would go by the Congress high command's decision on the matter," he told NDTV in an exclusive interview, adding that he did not protest when state party president Kamal Nath was chosen as the chief minister instead.
Mr Scindia, however, refused to divulge if he was offered the deputy chief minister's role. "I cannot say that. I am already the chief whip of my party in parliament, and the leadership will decide if I should be given anything more," he said. "At an individual level, you can only roll up your sleeve and get in the heat of things... build the party from strength to strength."
The Congress leader also sidestepped a question on party chief Rahul Gandhi choosing somebody from the old guard despite proclaiming at the outset that greater emphasis will be placed on the youth under his watch. "I think capability is the key factor here, not age or experience," he said. "And like my father, I have no hunger for any post."
However, Mr Scindia maintained that resting on its laurels would be the worst thing for the Congress to do at the moment. "The biggest pitfall is when you think that any election is going to be a walkover. See what happened to the BJP... they thought they were so powerful, but we ended up winning three states in the Hindi heartland," he said. "But the Modi of 2013 is not the Modi of 2018. The cliche -- you can fool some people some of the time, you can fool all people some of the time, but you can't fool all the people all the time -- works here. I think people have seen through many of the maya jaals and jhumlas that the BJP has promised the people."
The Congress leader said the next step would be to strengthen opposition unity against the BJP, and it mattered little if certain elements in the alliance seemed reluctant to project Mr Gandhi as its face. "We are not like the BJP. We don't believe that our way is the highway. We have a coalition called the UPA (United Progressive Alliance), and we will all sit together to decide our 2019 strategy. But there is no doubt in my mind that Rahul is -- and should be -- our prime ministerial candidate. Only he has the might to take on Modi," he asserted.
The Congress won 114 seats in the Madhya Pradesh assembly elections, the results of which were declared on December 11. It then went on to secure the support of the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and four independents to cross the majority mark of 116 seats.