A surprise meeting in Congress MP JyotiradityaScindia and former CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan electrified MP’s political circles on Monday night.
The two had a closed-door meeting at Chouhan’s residence for over around 40 minutes after which they came together to meet the crowd of journalists that had flocked there on hearing of it. Both the leaders dubbed it a ‘saujanyabhet (courtesy meet)’, but also stated that “the talks were good” – enough of a hint that their talk was in the context of the current political situation in MP and the Lok Sabha polls ahead.
Scindia came in Bhopal around 6.15pm on Monday to express his condolences on the passing of close family members of two of his close confidantes. After paying tributes, Scindia made up his mind – all of instant – to see Chouhan, who had only just returned from his New Delhi tour.
Scindia’s decision took everyone by surprise as he was on a very tight schedule. Scindiaconveyed a message to Chouhan and after confirmation went to the former CM’s residence with a clutch of supporters. Chouhan, as if waiting, welcomed Scindia and they were closeted in a meeting for about half an hour.
JyotiradityaScindia on poll tussle: Raatgayi, baatgayi
After coming out from the meeting around 10 pm, the Congress stalwart told reporters: “It was a courtesy meeting. We spoke on various things.”
Questioned about BJP’s relentless ‘Maafkaro Maharaja’ jibe at him during campaigning for assembly elections, Scindia said: “I am not a person who lives with bitterness in relations throughout life. I believe in ‘raatgayi, baatgayi’. There is a tussle in elections, but it vanishes after results. We believe in taking everyone along.”
On the role of Chouhan as an opposition leader, Scindia stated: “The Opposition should always assist and praise the good work of the government and point out lapses. We expect the opposition to be helpful and constructive.” Chouhan echoed Scindia’s sentiment and said: “It was a courtesy meeting. We met, we discussed. But, there are no complaints or hard feelings.” questioned about details of the meeting and what was discussed, the former CM only said: “Thank you.”
The meeting saw intense speculation. Some political pundits wondered if it was an indication of some kind of an arrangement before Lok Sabha elections or something to do with the present political situation in MP. Though, Scindia stated after the meeting that he will contest the Lok Sabha polls from his bastion, Guna-Shivpuri, rumours are rife that BJP could field his aunt YashodharavRaje or another senior leader in that seat. Sources in BJP believe that Congress has reached out to Chouhan after he was not given the post of Leader of opposition and sidelined by being made party national vice-president — a less significant position for a CM of three terms.