Plane crashes, tragedies, accidents, and terrorist victims seem to have haunted the Congress party eerily during the years of 2000s. There was a plane crash on 30th September 2001. Charismatic Congress leader Madhav Rao Scindia was on that flight. It led to his death.
Who was Madhav Rao Scindia?
Madhav Rao Scindia was the son of Jiwaji Rao Scindia. Jiwaji Rao was the last ruling Maharaja of the princely state of Gwalior during the British Raj. When his father died in 1961, under terms agreed to during the political integration of India, Madhav succeeded his father. He succeeded to a privy purse, certain privileges, and the use of the title of “Maharaja of Gwalior”. This title lasted until 1971 whereupon all were abolished by the 26th Amendment to the Constitution of India.
Early life of Scindia
Scindia was born in a royal Maratha family, the last ruling Maharaja of Gwalior. He had his schooling done in the Scindia School, Gwalior. Then he went for his higher studies in Winchester College and at New College, Oxford. When he returned from the UK, he followed the political tradition set by his mother Vijaysa Raje Scindia by joining politics. People elected him to the lower house of the Indian parliament, that is, the Lok Sabha in 1971 from Gwalior. His age was 26 when he won the first election from the Guna constituency. He was a nine-term member of the Lok Sabha and has never lost an election since 1971.
Political career of Madhav Rao
In 1984, he defeated the Bharatiya Janata Part’s Atal Bihari Vajpayee and won by a massive margin. After that, he became the Railways Minister from 22nd October 1986 to 1st December 1989 in the Rajiv Gandhi Ministry. Then, Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao made him Minister for Civil Aviation. He faced the agitation of the staff of the domestic carrier, Indian Airlines. As part of a strategy of disciplining the workforce, he released a number of aircraft from Russia. In 1992, one of these aircraft crashed and he submitted his resignation. He was reintroduced in the Cabinet in 1995 as Minister for Human Resource Development.
People along with Scindia in the flight
There were seven more persons in the flight along with Scindia when the ten-seater crashed in a paddy field in heavy rains and poor visibility. They were his personal secretary Rupinder Singh, pilot Ray Gautam, co-pilot Ritu, and 4 Delhi-based journalists namely Anju Sharma from the Hindustan Times, Sanjeev Sinha from the Indian Express, Ranjan Jha from Aaj Tak, and cameraman Gopal Bisht from Aaj Tak TV. All of them died when Cessna C-90 aircraft caught fire and the plane nose-dived into the field in Motta village bursting into flames around 2:30 pm. District police chief Sridhar Pathak said a lot of things. He said that poor visibility because of rains appeared to be one of the reasons behind the crash.
How did he die?
All the bodies were burned beyond recognition. They were to be taken to Agra by road. Then an aircraft sent by Atal Ji would bring the bodies to Delhi. Home Minister Advani told the media that Scindia’s son along with one family member from each of the bereaved families was going to identify the respective bodies. He added that post mortem of the recovered bodies would take place the next morning. The plane was a chartered flight belonging to Jindal Strips. It took off at 12:39 pm and was on its way to Kanpur. There Scindia was to address public meetings. It was scheduled to reach Kanpur at 1:50 pm but abruptly lost touch with Lucknow Air Traffic Control at 1:20 pm.
The people of India lost a great leader. Scindia always lent a sympathetic ear to the troubled. He was a sporting politician, a rare breed indeed.