Even though 21 political parties got together in the Constitution Club of India on Tuesday expressing fears about EVM hijacking, the lack of camaraderie among many of the leaders was palpable.
The reason for this was clear. Many of the political leaders who gathered at the venue of the meeting to show solidarity with each other were, till a few days ago, fighting a bitter electoral battle against each other.
It was no wonder, therefore, that despite them being at the same venue and raising the same demands, many of them were seen entering and exiting the Constitution Club alone and without speaking to each other personally.
Aam Aadmi Party convenor Arvind Kejriwal was seen to be among the loneliest leaders, although he is the chief minister of the state in which the meeting was held. Kejriwal entered and exited the venue alone, and kept his distance from Congress leaders such as Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ahmed Patel.
It is important to note that the AAP and Congress had a bitter experience with each other during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Talks between them relating to a seat-sharing alliance failed.
Kejriwal had made repeated attempts to stitch an alliance with the grand old party months before the election in a bid to prevent the BJP from returning to power. But the talks failed as the parties could not reach a seat-sharing agreement.
After the end of polling, Kejriwal had said, "Until 48 hours before polling, it seemed like all seven seats will come to AAP. But at the last moment, the complete Muslim vote got shifted to the Congress. We are trying to figure out what happened.”
Interestingly, division of anti-BJP votes in Delhi between the Congress and the AAP was the main fear that was haunting the Delhi chief minister, as it would give the BJP an edge over both the parties.
In the meeting on Tuesday at the Constitution Club, Kejriwal was seen in a gloomy mood as he entered the venue. Although he is otherwise known to be one of the fiercest critics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a vocal leader, he did not speak to the media. He did not answer questions on what the purpose of the meeting was.
The relationship among the leaders of the Congress, Trinamool Congress and the CPM did not appear to be a happy one, after the three parties fought against each other in the Lok Sabha election in West Bengal. Earlier, talks over a pre-poll alliance between the Congress and Left had failed to take off.
The TMC also would have hoped for an alliance between the Congress and CPM, as it could have ensured that anti-TMC votes do not shift to the BJP. The talks between the parties failed after the Congress and CPM announced candidates for 25 seats unilaterally before the elections.
With the alliance not having materialised, a section of Left voters may switch to the BJP, causing a challenge to the Trinamool citadel.
Significantly, delegations of parties such as the YSR Congress Party and Telangana Rashtra Samithi, the party in power in Telengana, were not seen in the meeting. The meeting was led by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, whose party, the Telugu Desam Party, was routed in Telangana by the TRS in last year's Assembly elections.
Naidu is also increasingly being challenged by the YSR Congress Party in his home turf of Andhra Pradesh. Exit polls on the recently-concluded Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh are divided on whether Naidu will retain power.
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Updated Date: May 22, 2019 19:56:52 IST