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Monday, 1 October, 2001, 13:08 GMT 14:08 UK
Madhav Rao Scindia: Princely politician
Indian train
Madhav Rao Scindia ran the railways for many years
By South Asia analyst Abhishek Prabhat

Madhav Rao Scindia - one of India's most popular political figures - studied at Winchester College and New College at Oxford University before entering politics at the age of 26.

Madhav Rao Scindia's career
Born in 1945
Entered parliament in 1971
Railways Minister 1984-1989
President of Indian cricket board 1990-1993
A scion of one of India's most well-known princely families, he was first elected to the lower house of the parliament in 1971 from Guna, in the central state of Madhya Pradesh.

He remained a member of the house for nine consecutive terms until his death.

Ministerial rank

Madhav Rao Scindia came into prominence during the prime ministership of Rajiv Gandhi from 1984 to 1989.

He soon emerged as a trusted lieutenant of the young prime minister and was appointed minister for railways.

He was given plum ministries - civil aviation and tourism and then human resources - in the next Congress government.

Rajiv Gandhi's death in 1991 pushed him into the background for a while - but he emerged stronger when Sonia Gandhi took charge of the party in 1999 and he was appointed the party's deputy leader in parliament.

Family row

Scindia's association with the Congress Party was also the beginning of his problems with his mother, Vijeraje Scindia.

Madhav Rao Scindia
Madhav Rao Scindia: Fell out with mother
An ardent leader of the rival and right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party, she disapproved of her son joining the Congress Party and made her feelings public.

The political differences were so strong that it poisoned the personal relationship between mother and son.

The two did not speak to each other for many years.

Mrs Scindia died early this year and in her will disinherited her son - leaving virtually nothing to him from the princely legacy.

Madhav Rao Scindia was also a well-known patron of sports.

A cricketer himself, he headed the Indian Cricket Control Board and many other sports bodies for several years.

Impeccably dressed and softly spoken, Madhav Rao Scindia maintained his reputation as one of India's most sophisticated politicians until his untimely death at the age of 56 in a plane crash.

See also:

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Top Indian politician dies
26 Sep 01 | South Asia
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