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32 years on, Delhi gears up for Congress plenary

Last updated on: December 17, 2010 23:09 IST

32 years on, Delhi gears up for Congress plenary

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On the eve of the Congress plenary, Sahim Salim captures the mood Burari, a town in northwest Delhi, which is all geared up for the mega event.

King-size hoardings of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi are dotting the skyline in Burari, a town in northwest Delhi. Labourers are seen giving finishing touches to zebra crossings on the streets and policemen are on their toes scanning and searching vehicles of even members of Parliament and Municipal Corporation of Delhi.

The generally sleepy town of Burari is abuzz with activity as the capital gets all set to hold the All India Congress Committee plenary session after 32 years. While it will be the 83rd session of the party, it is the sixth to be held in the national capital.

The last time the party held the plenary in Delhi was in 1978 with Indira Gandhi, then in the opposition, presiding over the 76th AICC session.

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Image: Hoardings of Congress president Sonia Gandhi have been put up across Burari
Photographs: Sahim Salim/Rediff.com
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32 years on, Delhi gears up for Congress plenary

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The three-day plenary starting on Saturday will see a participation of over 20,000 Congress workers from across the state. Held after the gap of four years, the meet will mark the 125th anniversary of the party.

To accommodate the 7,000 Congress delegates that will be staying at the venue, tents have been put up inside the 400-acre complex along with portable toilets.

Separate rooms have been arranged in the complex for the party top brass, including Dr Singh and Sonia Gandhi. The other party workers will either stay in New Delhi or will be put up in tents at the residences of Congress MPs.

Image: Roads in the town have been spruced up ahead of the Congress gala
Photographs: Sahim Salim/Rediff.com
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32 years on, Delhi gears up for Congress plenary

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With the who's who of the Congress attending the plenary, Burari is on high alert.

"Even media vehicles are not allowed near the complex hosting the plenary. MCD vehicles transporting tents and bamboos inside are thoroughly checked and workers are frisked every time they enter or exit the venue," said Surender Singh, a policeman on duty.


Image: Security has been beefed up in Burari

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32 years on, Delhi gears up for Congress plenary

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Apart from accommodation, the AICC has also made food arrangements for delegates.

The venue will have four food courts with a capacity of 2,000 people and will serve delicacies from across the country. In charge of the food arrangements at the plenary is Delhi's Social Welfare Minister Mangat Ram Singhal.

A makeshift hospital, a post office and railway and air ticket reservation counters will also be put up at the complex.

"The entire function is being organised by the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee. This is a party event and the city government is not involved in the preparations," said DPCC President Jai Prakash Aggarwal.


Image: Tents have been put up to accomodate party workers
Photographs: Sahim Salim/Rediff.com
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32 years on, Delhi gears up for Congress plenary

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By Friday evening, party workers had started flocking to Burari. A bus from Chattisgarh carrying Congress nine workers and their families arrived at the venue. "We are all members of the AICC. We will be staying in the tents
till the function is over. We are very excited to be here," said Arun Jogi, AICC member.

For the local Congress workers, the plenary has become a matter of pride.Seventy-three-year-old Amar Singh, a Congress supporter from Burari, took up the task of bearing the party flag.

An ardent Congressman, he waved the flag at the passing traffic showing his support to the party and the plenary.

"I am a loyal supporter of the party. I am not an AICC member, but I will always support India's grand-old party," Singh said.


Image: Amar Singh, a Congress supporter from Burari

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