Leaving all the bitterness that crept up post the assembly poll outcome behind, Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Jyotiraditya Scindia had a close-door meeting in Bhopal late on Monday night, electrifying the state’s political corridors.
After the meeting, the two leaders appeared before the media outside Chouhan’s house and called it a ‘saujanya bhent’ (courtesy meeting), but political experts are drawing much more out of this sudden high-profile meeting that lasted close to 40 minutes.
Scindia, who prefers to stay away from the state capital, had visited the city to condole the demise of family members of two of his close aides.
After the visits, he suddenly turned towards former CM Chouhan’s house and had a long chat with the senior BJP leader, who was at the forefront in attacking his royal lineage ahead of the elections.
“I am not the person who would live his life with bitterness. Raat gayi, baat gayi (let bygones be bygones),” said Scindia, adding that everyone should contribute to the betterment of the state.
Chouhan replied to the media queries in the same tone, saying it was just a courtesy call. “Koi gila nahin, koi shikwa nahin, (I have no complaint or grudge),” he told reporters. Chouhan even came out of his residence to drop Scindia to his car.
The meeting, however, came at a time when BJP and Congress are trading charges over law and order issue, and chief minister Kamal Nath is away in Davos to attend the World Economic Forum.
“It was courtesy meeting where Scindia sought Chouhan’s support in developmental works,” said Congress spokesperson Manak Agrawal, adding that it sent a positive message that ruling party and opposition can work in tandem.
The BJP, however, did not miss the chance to take a dig on the episode, suggesting that it showed Scindia was unhappy after being sidelined.
“Such courtesy meetings have taken place between Chouhan and the CM and Chouhan and Digvijaya Singh as well, so why so much fuss within the Congress party? Even a courtesy call is upsetting the Congress leaders,” said BJP spokesperson Rajnish Agrawal.
Scindia, a close aide of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, was in the running for the CM’s post but the party picked veteran Kamal Nath for the coveted post.
Chouhan, too, has been sidelined to some extent in the BJP after he was snubbed for Leader of Opposition’s post and was also denied permission to take out Aabhar Yatra (gratitude journey) he had announced after the poll defeat.
The party high command also made a move to keep him away from MP by appointing him as national vice-president.