Tired of waiting, many even got up to leave before Gandhi’s appearance but were stopped by chief minister Sheila Dikshit.
“Humari behane jo jaa rahi hai, main unse request karungi Rahulji ko sun kar jaaye. Mujhe pata hai aapko bhook lagi hogi (those of you who are leaving, I request you to stay and listen to Rahul. I know many of you are hungry),” Dikshit said in the middle of her speech.
“There was no arrangement for water. I was waiting since morning and then decided to leave as I was very tired,” said Radhey Shyam, who had been standing for more than three hours.
Gandhi finally did come. Criticising divisive politics and countering the BJP’s attempt to woo migrants, he described Delhi as a city of migrants. “In a way, it is a mini-Hindustan. People come here from UP, Bihar Mumbai. My family went from Kashmir to UP and from UP to Delhi. Sheila Dikshit’s family too made the journey from UP to Delhi,” he said.
By then, most of the chairs in the 4,000-capacity venue were empty.
Party sources said both Gandhi and Dikshit were visibly disappointed by the turnout.