GUWAHATI, Feb 25 � While the ruling Congress was able to gather an �impressive crowd� during Rahul Gandhi�s rally here today, the event did witness lighter moments as well as of discomfiture.
The heat and sun, together with delay in Gandhi�s arrival at the rally ground, left at least the media fuming, if not the loyal supporters of the grand old party. One especially felt the lack of water bottles.
With the arrival of Gandhi and other leaders, the main event commenced with singing of Vande Mataram. Even as the National Song was being sung, enthusiastic Congress supporters continued to wave at their leader.
Also heard along with the song was the shrill note of a whistle. Turning our heads, we noticed a lal topi policeman blowing the whistle to prevent the crowd from surging and jumping to the gallery where the cameras of the electronic media were placed.
It was announced that the welcome address would be given by APCC president Bhubaneswar Kalita. What followed was an embarrassing silence as Kalita was untraceable. After a silence of a minute or so and no welcome address forthcoming, Rahul Gandhi�s felicitation was done.
With the speaker�s podium vacant, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi took to the floor and started his speech. Among the first things he mentioned was that Kalita will come soon.
Next, Union Minister Ranee Narah got up twice from her chair to adjust the position of the microphone as Gogoi was speaking. The microphone was not properly placed but unlike State government functions, there were only five-six people in the dais along with a couple of SPG guards. So VIPs had to do their own work.
It is noteworthy that the Chief Minister mentioned Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Abul Kalam Azad, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi while talking about the history of the Congress party. Some people wondered why names of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Lal Bahadur Shastri, among others, who were also equally big leaders of the grand old party, were not mentioned.
Kalita, after he came to the dais, started his speech by describing Rahul Gandhi as �nayanar moni� of the people of Assam.
When finally the moment for Rahul Gandhi to begin his speech arrived, the announcer (who was not on the dais) suddenly said there will be a Bihu dance performance, which has been specially rehearsed for presentation before the Congress vice president. The dance took place in another dais, a little distance away from the main dais where the senior leaders were delivering their speeches.
Gandhi and all other leaders on the dais stood to watch the Bihu dance till it was over and his speech started thereafter.
Finally, none of the bigshots of the State Congress or State government were in the dais. Besides, Gandhi, Gogoi, Kalita and Narah, only senior Congress leader CP Joshi and Secretary-in-Charge of�Assam�Avinash Pande, along with Bodoland People�s Front president Hagrama Mahilary found a place in the podium.