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Gandhis join in party celebrations

May 15, 2004 04:55 IST

The mood at the victorious Congress camp at 10, Janpath was jubilant. The usually grave and reserved Sonia Gandhi was smiling as she joined her children Rahul and Priyanka and party workers in celebrating the party's stunning success in the elections.

Gandhi, wearing a light cream sari, met ecstatic workers and activists.

Notwithstanding the iron barricades dividing her from the party workers, she shook hands with almost all activists as they shouted slogans calling on her to become prime minister.

Blocking traffic on the busy Akbar road, where Gandhi's house opens out into the adjacent party headquarters, activists streamed in throughout the day. They came in cars, and in trucks that sported the banners of their state part units.

The arrival of the Gandhis galvanised them into a frenzy of slogan-shouting: 'Atal, Advani hakka-bakka (stunned)', 'Rahul mare chowka chakka' (Rahul hits fours and sixes), and 'Desh ki Pradhan Mantri kaisi ho? Sonia Gandhi jaisi ho (What should the country's prime minister be like? Like Sonia Gandhi)'. All this, beside the staple 'Sonia Gandhi Zindabad'.

The Congress President spared a few minutes for an enthusiastic worker who led the shouting group.

Gandhi came thrice to the barricaded gates after supporters complained that all of them had not got to met her. Much to their disappointment, however, Gandhi did not address them though they had constructed a makeshift dais for her.

Rahul, however, was carried away by the mob. He scaled the barricade when members of the National Students Union of India, the student wing of the Congress, invited him. He joined them in a dance, rendering difficult the task of the protecting Special Protection Group personnel.

Priyanka, who was with her mother all the time, showed more reserve. She kept her distance, greeted people politely and threw garlands at the supporters in a style reminiscent of her grandmother Indira Gandhi.


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