Lok Sabha election 2019: Rahul, Shatrughan’s joint show of strength in Patna

Traffic came to a standstill as Congress president Rahul Gandhi took out a road show, covering a distance of nearly 2 kms from the Moinul Haque Stadium to Nala Road in over 100 minutes, soliciting support for party candidate from Patna Sahib parliamentary constituency, Shatrughan Sinha, here on Thursday evening.

The event was more a show of strength after BJP president Amit Shah held a road show here on May 11, leaving people discussing about the turnout at the two events, with Congress supporters emphatically claiming their leader’s show was better.

Party festoons, depicting pictures of Rahul, Priyanka and Sonia Gandhi, and party flags, dotted the route, especially roundabouts — the Premchand and Dinkar golambars (roundabouts). Supporters wore Congress caps and white T-shirts, mentioning about the monthly grant of Rs 6,000, which the Congress has promised to the needy if voted to power.

Supporters threw marigold and rose petals on Rahul as the pick-up truck, bedecked with flowers and advertising flex materials, converted into a rath, crossed the main thoroughfares of the state capital amid sloganeering and fervent drum beats by supporters, many of whom had travelled from outside the state.

What was out and out a Congress show was briefly interrupted when Lalu Prasad’s heir apparent in the RJD, Tejashwi Yadav, joined the bandwagon around 30 minutes late. He caught up with Rahul’s rath between Premchand and Dinkar golambar, to occupy a coveted position on the political rath with Rahul, which was till then shared by Shatrughan Sinha, his wife Poonam Sinha, an SP candidate from Lucknow, former Union minister Subodh Kant Sahay and a battery of SPG security personnel.

As Tejashwi joined the rath, slogans of “Tejashwi Yadav zindabad” rent the air, breaking the monotony of “Rahul Gandhi zindabad ”and“Chowkidaar chore hai”, as Congress supporters tested their lung power.

Health freaks at the Gold’s Gym on Rajendra Nagar gave a break to their evening workout session to take a peek at Rahul who sported a smile and waved to the crowd, even shaking hands with a few who stood on narrow road dividers and risked being trampled by the crowd that followed him.

Congress party workers had done well to distribute marigold and rose petals to the crowd and they made sure their leader was not disappointed even as the heat took a toll on the leaders, their supporters and securitymen.

As the show ended near Churi Market on Nala Road at 7.22pm, Rahul briefly took to the PA system to announce that he would fix the ‘anomalies’ in GST, which he referred to as “Gabbar Singh Tax”. He also claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had fooled the people of Patna and urged the masses to support his party candidate.

If the impressive turnout at the road show was any indication, Shatrughan Sinha would seem comfortably poised for a third consecutive win from the Patna Sahib seat. But, politics, like cricket, is a game of glorious uncertainties, and even the Congress leaders know it all too well.

First Published:
May 17, 2019 14:10 IST

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