Grand welcome to Congress leaders costs Rs.1 million

May 30th, 2008 - 2:55 pm ICT by admin  

Raipur, May 30 (IANS) Workers of the Congress party’s various factions spent at least Rs.1 million Thursday on crackers, hoardings, banners and vehicles to welcome senior party leaders to Chhattisgarh capital Raipur. The Congress is in the opposition in the state. Thousands of Congress workers across the state, from various factions led by former chief minister Ajit Jogi, former union minister Vidyacharan Shukla, former home minister in undivided Madhya Pradesh Charandas Mahant, and AICC treasurer Motilal Vora, thronged Raipur airport to receive their mentors who for the first time came to the state capital together to put up a show of unity.

When V. Narayanasamy, central minister of state for parliamentary affairs and planning, who is also in charge of Chhattisgarh for the Congress, stepped out of the airport with Jogi, Vora, Shukla, the newly appointed state president Dhanendra Sahu and two working presidents - Charandas Mahant and Satyanarayan Sharma - party workers began bursting crackers.

It took about five hours for the Congress leaders’ convoy to travel 15 km from Raipur’s Mana airport to state party headquarters Gandhi Bhawan. The workers of various factions burst crackers non-stop all the way.

The state capital was flooded with banners and posters of the party. Crackers being burst on the main roads halted traffic with commuters stranded during the peak evening rush.

Party insiders said that workers spent at least Rs.1 million for the five-hour welcome show Thursday with most of the money being spent on crackers.

“It was probably the record single day expenditure Thursday by the Congress workers since the state came into existence in November 2000, to appease their leaders,” a party legislator told IANS on condition of anonymity.

He said: “Youth Congress state president Yogesh Tiwari and National Student Union of India (NSUI) state president Vikas Upadhayay stole the show as each had arranged 200 bikes that raced from the airport to the party office shouting slogans in favour of their mentors.”

It was the first ever show of unity by the Congress since the party lost power to Bharatiya Janata Party in the December 2003 assembly polls.

The Congress high-command has recently appointed Dhanendra Sahu, a leader from the Other Backward Classes (OBC), its state unit president to replace Charandas Mahant who will now be the working president.

The party has also appointed legislator Satyanarayan Sharma as another working president.

The state goes to polls in November to elect a new 90-member legislative assembly.

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