Disconnect between Sonia and her audience

March 23rd, 2009 - 9:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi Davangere (Karnataka), March 24 (IANS) Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who hogged the limelight at her party’s election rally here Monday with her disarming style, studied silence and gracious presence, had to face disconnect with her audience due to language barrier and tight security.
Flying into the town by a hired chopper an hour behind schedule, Sonia was in tearing hurry to leave at the earliest. As a picture of certitude, her dignified presence on the mounted dais stood out in an all-male dominant company.

Though over 250,000 people flocked to the venue on a hot, humid and dry afternoon from Malnad (hill region), the heartland of Karnataka, to listen to their ‘gora amma’, thousands, especially rustics from rural areas, became restless as they could not follow her speech in Hindi, read out in English accent from a prepared script.

What’s more, neither was there an instant translation nor a summary of her address in Kannada.

With the Congress expecting a mammoth gathering of over 300,000 people, organisers had a tough time in mobilising half the number of chairs from neighbouring districts like Chitradurga as local suppliers ran out of stock.

To keep the restive crowds engaged and occupied till Sonia arrived, patriotic and devotional songs were blared non-stop for over two hours.

The ‘displeasure’ of Gandhi with senior state party leader and former central minister C.K. Jaffer Sharief was apparent as the latter was not allowed to speak from the dais initially even after his name was pronounced by the anchor M.P. Prakash, who joined the Congress last year.

Hundreds of rural folks who came to the rally unabashedly admitted to IANS that they were ferried to the rally by Congress cadres in buses, with breakfast and lunch thrown in.

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