After coming to Shimla, one does not want to go back – Sonia Gandhi

Photo By: Amit Kanwar

Shimla: It was not a summer fair but crowds dancing merrily to hill drum beats livened up Sonia Gandhi’s weekend rally here turning the political event into a festive occasion.

Glare of the sun was blunted by a partially clouded sky and the soft breeze blowing at the Ridge Top venue had the UPA chairperson in her speech comment, “after coming here, one does not want to go back.”

Earlier making a dash for the podium, the congress president caused a flutter on the stage as other congressman took time to hold protocol by placing each towering leader according to the hierarchy.

Party general secretary Mohsina Kidwai, state president Kaul Singh, opposition leader Vidya Stokes, central minister Anand Sharma, candidate Dhani Ram Shandil and former chief minister Virbhadra Singh were all shuffled around and shown their place on the dais.

While Virbhadra concluded his speech within the allotted two minutes, other speakers permitted to speak on the occasion, which included Kaul Singh, Shandil and Stokes had to be tapped by Kidwai’s to contain their speech’s.

It was only for the former chief minister Virbhadra Singh and party president Sonia Gandhi that the crowds were spontaneously on their feet, cheering and shouting slogans, for the rest they had to prodded to do so.

As the skies threatened to turn stormy, the congress president thundered away in her monotone speech touching local, national and international issues in the same breath, lamb-blasting the opposition and others in between.

In under a hour the big ticket show was over that started out half an hour behind schedule.

Narain Chauhan, a bystander hewing a sigh of relief as the security measures taken were lowered said, “it may be a status symbol to hold a political rally on The Ridge but it puts the traveller and the resident to great inconvenience.”

Curiously gazing on the crowds, Stephen McKenzie, a British national out on a holiday with friend Michelle said, “Indian elections are fascinating.” Busy taking pictures Michelle chipped in, “the drum beat and people dancing was truly festive.”

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