Pink headgear, Gandhi caps stand out at Congress rally

March 9th, 2008 - 9:47 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi
By Rakesh Mohan Chaturvedi
New Delhi, March 9 (IANS) Pink headgears, Gandhi caps and women shouting slogans eulogising Congress President Sonia Gandhi stood out at the farmers’ rally at the Ramlila Ground here Sunday. The Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) presidents of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Delhi seemed to have a contest going among them about who got the largest number of supporters to the rally.

Haryana seemed to lead with supporters of Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda outnumbering and out-shouting all others. Hooda and his supporters donned pink `pagris’ to distinguish themselves from others.

Haryana women raised slogans with gusto when Hooda started his speech, virtually making the chief minister inaudible in the process. Their slogan shouting - the evergreen “Jab tak suraj-chand rahega, Sonia tera naam rahega” (As long as there is the sun and the moon, Sonia’s name will be remembered) and “Sonia Zindabad” (Hail Sonia)- rent the air.

“I do not remember the number of buses that have come here from Haryana. We came here due to Hooda,” said Premwati, a Congress worker from Rohtak, giving a packet of biscuits to another worker.

The Congress supporters from Uttar Pradesh, where the party is in political wilderness for nearly two decades, tried to put up a brave show. Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi in her speech vent her ire against the Mayawati government.

The Gandhi caps, in vogue decades back and known for making brief comebacks in the past, were visible too. Joshi wore a Gandhi cap at recent public meetings and her supporters seem to have taken the cue.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi can take heart from the high number of women who made it to the rally.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been pressing for the women’s reservation bill and has already provided 33 percent reservation to women in the organisation structure.

Women, from teenagers to the aged, made their presence felt.

Not all of them were farmers though. When the IANS correspondent asked a woman clad in a pair of jeans and a hip white top whether she was a farmer, she responded: “No, but my grandfather was a farmer.”

Pamphlets titled ‘Budget 2008-09 Highlights’ and printed in English were distributed among the people. Many did not understand the text and used the document to shield themselves from the sun or wipe their faces.

The crowd had brought drums and entertained themselves while waiting for Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to arrive. Few were attentive to the action on the stage.

While felicitating the two leaders, most of the state units presented shawls. While Punjab presented a sword by a tall Sikh who towered over Manmohan Singh, Haryana seemed to have got it right when they presented a plough, it being a farmers’ rally.

Sonia got cheers from the crowd during her rhetorical speech that had a good dose of catchy phrases. She ended by exhorting the people to say Jai Hind! thrice. The crowd responded in a rising crescendo.

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