Who Was Vijaya Raje Scindia
Vijayaraje Scindia, the spouse of the last ruling Maharaja of Gwalior, Jiyajirao Scindia. She was born on 12 October 1919, in Lekha Divyeshwari Devi and is known popularly as the Rajmata of Gwalior. She was a prominent Indian political personality. In the days of the British Raj, as the consort of the last ruling Maharaja of Gwalior, Jivajirao Scindia, she ranked among the highest royal figures of the land. In later life, she became a politician of considerable influence and was elected repeatedly to both houses of the Indian parliament.
She is renowned as an active politician from the Jana Sangh and Bharatiya Janata Party. For years, she ruled one of the largest and richest princely states of India. The world remembers her as the Rajmata of Gwalior. She hailed from a branch of the Nepali royal family, who was exiled to Sagar in India in the 1880s. Apart from her active participation in politics, she held several other positions as well. She served as the President of the All India Women’s Conference for over 40 years, Trustee of Viswa Hindu Parishad, and Pro-Chancellor of Sagar University.
Her Entry into Politics
She won all elections that she contested, with over seven consecutive parliamentary elections. With her husband’s death in 1961, Scindia became Rajmata, an honor that she held until her death in 2001. She first entered politics in 1962, when she was elected for the Guna Lok Sabha seat from Madhya Pradesh on a Congress ticket. Subsequently, Scindia won the elections but five years down the line in 1967, she left Congress and joined Hindu Nationalist Bharatiya Jan Sangh. She was elected to Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly in 1967 where she served till 1971. She later contested for Rajya Sabha and won. During Indira Gandhi’s Emergency in 1975, Scindia was imprisoned in Tihar Jail where she served as a political prisoner. With this began lifelong differences between Scindia and her son Madhavrao who left India and went to Nepal to stay with his sister Usha Raje. After the Emergency was lifted, he returned to India and joined Congress, thereby increasing the differences with his mother. The year 1980 proved to be beneficial for Scindia when she became one of the Vice Presidents of the BJP. She provided her full support to the Ayodhya theme and continued as the Vice President of BJP until 1998 when she quit due to declining health issues.