When the leader of the main opposition, Rahul Gandhi, even before the official results are out, begins complaining, it comes across as a loser looking for excuses. Opposition parties are now looking to congregate, keeping the Congress at bay.
Irrespective of whether one would believe the exit polls' predictions or not, the fact of the matter is the opposition parties in the country seem a bit rattled. Despite their superficial claims that they would prefer to wait for the official results on May 23, there are enough tell-tale evidences that suggest they can already see the writing on the wall.
The moment polling ended at the stroke of 6 pm on Sunday evening, Rahul Gandhi, the man who has spearheaded the Congress' campaign in this election, put out a tweet at that precise moment criticising electoral bonds, EVMs, Namo TV, EC and what not.
For many of the seasoned political and poll watchers, the penny dropped that instant.
When the leader of the main opposition, even before the official results are out, begins complaining, it comes across as a loser looking for excuses.
And soon after the exit polls' results began flooding the media platforms, other opposition leaders like Mamata Banerjee, N Chandrababu Naidu also joined the chorus, bashing the EC and EVMs.
To be sure, the Election Commission did not cover itself with much glory in the way it went about its task, but it is still a much-vaunted claim to accuse it of 'fixing' the elections. At any rate, those who make those charges are the ones, who carry the onus of proving them. Without adequate corroborative material, they will be justifiably seen as mere politically motivated claims.
The same opposition parties did not find anything amiss with the EC or the EVMs when the Congress won in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in December last year.
So, the allegations now just seem a case of sour grapes.
Anyway, the exit polls have also created an anti-Congress mood among the non-BJP pantheon in Indian politics. Even though these are just exit polls' projections, there are indications from the other parties that feel Congress could have been more accommodative and fought the elections in a more cohesive manner in some kind of alliance.
The general opinion aired by many political analysts on social media platforms is that the Congress by deciding to go alone in Uttar Pradesh hurt the Mahagathbandhan than the BJP. The Congress intransigence to provide space to other parties is what is hurting all the opposition parties together, feel the analysts.
In Delhi too, it failed to join forces with the AAP, and the result is both of them are likely to get hurt. Same is the case in Haryana too. Down south, when Rahul Gandhi decided to contest in Wayanad, it upset the plans of the Left Front, and it needlessly queered pitch for some kind of understanding between the two elsewhere.
In Karnataka too, the Congress refused to see Janata Dal (Secular) as an equal ally and failed to assuage its ruffled feelings. As it happens, JD(S) supporters, in a fit of rage, seem to have voted for the BJP. Or so claims one of the ministers in Karnataka.
But even with so much bad blood flowing against the Congress and its leadership, no one was really ready for what Yogendra Yadav, the soft-spoken former AAP leader and pollster, said on TV. He did not pull his punches. "The Congress should die. If it could not stop the BJP in this election to save the idea of India, this party has no positive role in Indian history. Today, it represents the single biggest obstacle to creation of an alternative."
It was a merciless takedown of the Congress and its ethos. It was also an implicit criticism directed at the leadership of the Gandhis.
Yogendra Yadav's words could have been spoken in the heat of the moment when because of the Congress's high-handedness, parties like AAP (Yadav's former party) are staring at a grave future. But the fact that such thoughts have cropped up is a worrying sign for the Congress and the Gandhis, who should face a lot of scrutiny if the exit polls' results stay true.
Already, after the exit polls were out, the opposition parties which were planning to gather in Delhi with the Congress as the pivot, are now looking to congregate, keeping the Congress at bay. TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu has flown to Kolkata to meet West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. Samajwadi leader Akhilesh Yadav and Mamata apparently met in Uttar Pradesh. A lot of activity is indeed happening behind the scenes. But none of it seems to include the Congress in a big manner.
Indian politics, in a sense, needs the Congress to get its act together. A strong opposition player is needed to keep the Parliamentary democracy in good health. But with the Gandhis around, that doesn't look like happening anytime soon.
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Last Updated May 20, 2019, 6:10 PM IST