Hailed as one of the tallest leaders of Bhartiya Janta Party, Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia was a prominent Indian political personality. Married to last ruling Maharaja of Gwalior, Jivajirao Scindia, she enjoyed immense respects amongst her subject. A former Congress politician, she became a passionate proponent of the BJP's brand of Hindutva. She played a key role in strengthening the democratic principles. Owing to her deteriorating health she stepped down from the post of vice-president of BJP in 1999. Her death on 25 January 2001 at the age of 81 was mourned by many including leaders of both Congress and Bhartiya Janta Party.
Born Lekha Divyeshwari in Sagar, Madhya Pradesh, in 1919, she was eldest child of Thakur Mahendra Singh who was a deputy collector in the provincial administration. As her mother who belonged to the influential Rana family of Nepal died at Raje's birth so she was brought up by her maternal grandparents. The young Lekha attended Vasantha College, Benares, and Isabella Thoburn College, Lucknow. She also took part in freedom movement and gave up the use of foreign goods and fabrics.
Marriage and Family Life
A very highly educated and daughter of Civil servant she married Jiyajirao Scindia, the maharaja of Gwalior in 1941 and took the name Vijayaraje. The couple had a very successful marriage life. Their children Madhavrao Scindia, Vasundhararaje Scindia, Yashodhararaje Scindia were prominent leaders across the political spectrum. After her husband's death in 1960, her cousin Sambhajirao Angre, also known as Sardar Angre, became her political mentor.
She entered electoral politics in 1957 when she contested and won the Guna Lok Sabha seat in Madhya Pradesh on a Congress ticket. Again in 1962 she won from Gwalior with impressive margin. A known face of Indian politics she parted away with Congress due to her differences with Indira Gandhi. Afterwards she joined Bharatiya Jan Sangh which later re-formed as the Bharatiya Janata Party. She made Bharatiya Jan Sangh a force to reckon with in Madhya Pradesh. She played a key role in ensuring the electoral success of her pary in 1971 Lok Sabha polls from Gwalior region. Despite Indira wave the party won from Bhind, Gwalior and Guna. She was instrumental in making Govind Narain Singh the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh. She was thrown into Tihar Jail by Indira Gandhi during the Emergency but this did not deter her from supporting Jan Sangh.
She was one of the founding members of Bharatiya Janata Party and made valuable contribution propagating the ideals of the party. She remained at the helm of party activities until 1998 when she stepped down from the post of vice-president on health grounds and quit electoral politics.
Illness and Death
Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia who who was suffering from meningitis died on 25 January 2001. Her funeral was attended by people from all walks of life. Both the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Home Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani were present at the funeral of Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia. "Her death," said Advani, "marked the end of an era for the BJP."
A noble soul she was very popular and respected. A passionate proponent of the BJP's brand of Hindutva she never used her clout for her personal gain. During her lifetime she built educational institutions and gave donations to many charitable trusts.
No one will ever forget the image of her gentle and bright face. May god give her eternal rest.
Vasundhara Raje, Yashodhara Raje and entire Scindia family
(FAN OF Rajmata VIJAYA RAJE SCINDIA)
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