“What is the scene inside a party office on the day of the counting?” I had always pondered over this question. Little did I know, I was going to receive an answer to this question on May16. It was the D-day for many parties and candidates who were in the fray to form the government at the Centre.
I, along with two of my colleagues had been assigned to cover the CPM office. It was a completely novel experience for me. Prior to this, I had covered press conferences and other events but this event was a total paradigm shift from the others.
The CPM office bore a completely deserted and glum look which was in keeping with its election results. It had received a bolt from the blue in its strongholds of West Bengal and Kerala. To be precise, it had been vanquished by the Trinamool Congress and the Congress led United Democratic Front. Journalists from various media organizations- small and big- were scrambling for bytes. One TV journalist confided and told us, “We have been here since 4 o’clock in the morning.”
Outside the CPM party office the mood was the opposite. Hundreds of Congress supporters were celebrating the thumping victory of Ajay Maken. This move looked more than a mere coincidence to me.
It took me some time to feel the pulse of the moment as it was an alien setting for me. The emissaries of the party struggled to find words to describe their defeat. They kept their verbal skills limited to the usage of the synonyms of the word “analysis”. It will not be wrong to say that this word manifested itself in different forms in the words of Nilotpal Basu and Brinda Karat. It was in the evening that Sitaram Yechury arrived. We were allowed inside to witness the interview.
He was more specific and accepted the fact that this time citizens had given preference to national parties over regional parties. He opined, “The alliance of Trinamool and Congress had an advantage over us”.
The day of May 16 will always remain etched in my memory. I got an opportunity to brush shoulders with senior journalists and learnt the nuances of the profession called “Journalism”.