Guna Lok Sabha constituency and Scindias

On March 2, the first list of the BJP was announced. It was indeed a nerve-racking moment for both ticket aspirants and their followers, but not for those political enthusiasts who enjoy elections as festivals of democracy (after all, India, like Greece, claims to be the mother of democracy) to be celebrated and not stressed […]

Jyotiraditya M. Scindia
Jyotiraditya M. Scindia

On March 2, the first list of the BJP was announced. It was indeed a nerve-racking moment for both ticket aspirants and their followers, but not for those political enthusiasts who enjoy elections as festivals of democracy (after all, India, like Greece, claims to be the mother of democracy) to be celebrated and not stressed about. Pundits got into action, discussing the reasons why some candidates were chosen, and some were not. In this article, the readers will get to know the historical connections between one of the most prominent erstwhile royal dynasties of India, the Scindias and a Lok Sabha Constituency that has had a special place in the political journey of several members of this family, and Jyotiraditya M. Scindia has found his place for Guna in the list.


The Guna Lok Sabha seat comprises eight assembly segments, including Shivpuri, Pichhore, Kolaras, Bamori, Guna, Ashok Nagar, Chanderi, and Mungaoli. In the annals of Indian history, we find Maratha Scindias conquered these places over the years, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when they came to Central India from their home in Deccan as warriors of the “movement for Hindavi Swarajya,” the ideological foundation of which was laid by Jijabai, mother of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaja, and the actual foundation by him.

But the actual edifice of what he dreamt of substantially was built by Maharaja Mahadji Scindia; he planted the Maratha banner in all four erstwhile capitals of the Mughal Empire: Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, Delhi, and Lahore. He was indeed a great patriot and extraordinary warrior who humbled the British during the First Anglo-Maratha War. The British surrender at Wadgaon was a manifestation of Scindia’s power.

Shivpuri, in what is now Guna Lok Sabha, was chosen as the summer capital of Scindias’ state during the rule of an enlightened monarch, Maharaja Madho Rao Scindia, about whom it was published in The Telegraph newspaper when he passed away in 1925 that “no Indian prince had to his name so great a record not merely of sound administration of his state but of adoption of modern methods both in science and political thought as Scindia, the Maharaja of Gwalior.”

After the independence of India, there had been a long history of Scindias’ electoral victories in the Guna Lok Sabha, irrespective of the parties from which they contested. Vijaya Raje Scindia won the seat in 1957, 1967, 1989, 1991, 1996, and 1998. Her son Madhavrao Jiwajirao Scindia represented the constituency in 1971, 1977, 1980, and 1999; his son Jyotiraditya M. Scindia won the seat four times in a row in 2002 (bypoll), 2004, 2009, and 2014.

Even though Jyotiraditya lost the election in 2019, he proved his mettle by exercising his political influence in the entire Gwalior-Chambal belt for the electoral benefit of the BJP in the M.P. Vidhan Sabha elections of 2023, and the party came into power, proving several psephologists wrong who they were and predicting an anti-incumbency. Titular Maharaja Jyotiraditya is back in the fray in the Lok Sabha election 2024 from Guna, but this time as a B.J.P. candidate, a party that his grandmother laid the foundations of.


What is now The Guna Lok Sabha was once a part of Scindias’ State, as mentioned before; this period was indeed a golden period for the development of this region. Shivpuri was once a small cantonment with an old town close by. Later, Maharaja Madho Rao Scindia (1886–1925) had the place surveyed and decided to establish his seat of government here during the summer months. He spent much money and personal time making Shivpuri attractive to all.

Roads were cut through virgin forests, over hills, across streams, and along the banks of artificial lakes, which were thus brought within reach of tourists. The town was electrically lit, and a good water supply was provided. It was connected to the winter capital of Scindias’ State Shivpuri by the Gwalior Light Railway line and Scindias’ Gwalior and North Indian Transport Company Ltd.’s (that was converted into Delhi Transport Corporation later) buses.

In Guna town, an important increase in its trade was marked in 1899 when the railway between Guna and Baran was opened by Maharaja Madho Rao Scindia. The Bina-Guna Baran line was constructed at the cost of Scindia’s Gwalior Durbar and handed over for management to the G.I.P. Railway. Guna railway station was also constructed by the Maharaja. A government grant was given for the purchase of X-ray apparatus for Guna Hospital, and a veterinary hospital was also created in Guna. The town was also the centre of the St. John Ambulance Association.

Rampur reservoir was created near Guna to hold 1,200 million cubic feet of water and irrigate 16,000 bighas. Its cost then was about Rs. 6,00,000, and money was also advanced as loans without interest for repairs of old wells and construction of new wells, the purchase of seed, bullocks, fertilisers, etc. in Guna, and a mandi was also established here.

Apart from Shivpuri and Guna towns proper, nearby areas were also parts of Scindia’s mission for economic development. Mungaoli’s importance as a grain exporting centre grew considerably after the opening of the Bina-Baran branch of the G.I.P.R. (funded by Maharaja Madho Rao Scindia), and the town had a mandi (controlled market). A municipality was instituted in Mungaoli by Madho Rao Scindia in 1904. Dak and inspection bungalows were created at Kolaras, and a metal road was constructed here. Pichhore was infamous for dacoities. Maharaja Madho Rao Scindia ensured that all the dacoits, who had so long escaped the authorities, were caught, and a large quantity of property stolen by dacoits was also recovered.

Moving to Chanderi, we find that its textile industry has developed thanks to the major contribution of the Scindias. During Maharaja Madho Rao Scindia’s time, orders were passed by the Scindia Darbar for the survey of the industry. Lala Babulal Govila, “Textile Engineer (Tokio),” was asked to take the work in hand and to submit a complete report to the Darbar with his recommendations. This was in the year 1909. Lala Babulal Govila, after making the necessary inquiries, submitted his scheme.

His recommendations were accepted by the Darbar in full, and the creation of an Institute of Textile Technology at Chanderi with a Textile Store attached to it was sanctioned, and the execution of the scheme was entrusted to Govila. In about a year’s time, two magnificent buildings at Chanderi were adapted for housing these two institutions, and they were equipped with the most modern appliances. After independence, Jyotiraditya took forward the legacy of his great grandfather. During his tenure as the MP of Guna, he initiated development works worth Rs 2,100 crore. Business Standard reported in 2016 that “Jyotiraditya Scindia brings Chanderi flavour to AIFW (Amazon Indian Fashion Week).” Recently, he was present when the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Dr. Mohan Yadav, inaugurated the country’s first ‘Craft Handloom Tourism Village’ in Pranpur village of Chanderi Tehsil, and the Civil Aviation Ministry he heads has announced that it will develop Guna and Shivpuri airports under UDAN with Rs 45 crore each. Indeed, Scindias have contributed significantly to the development of what is now the Guna Lok Sabha constituency.


The Election Commission announced the schedule for the Lok Sabha polls on March 16. The elections will be held in 7 phases, with voting kicking off on April 19 and ending on June 1, and voting in Guna will take place on May 7. The counting of votes will be on June 4, the poll panel announced. Elections are indeed festivals of democracy, and in India, Lok Sabha elections are festivals of the largest democracy in the world. All voters should exercise their right to vote in the best interest of the country, as per their thinking and preferences. Do contribute to this festival of democracy and development in Guna with the power of your franchise.

Arunansh B. Goswami, Head, Scindia Research Centre, Gwalior
Sumit Kaushik, a PhD candidate at O.P. Jindal Global University and a social impact consultant