Congress’ Tuesday rally at Ramlila Maidan turned out to be a show of strength by the party with ticket seekers for the upcoming civic body polls flooding the rally venue.
The rally, which was addressed by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, saw aspiring candidates from various wards across the city come in with busloads of supporters to fill up the rally venue.
Supporters were either asked to carry placards flashing the names of their ward-leaders or were seen wearing T-shirts and caps with the names and pictures of the ticket-seekers printed on them.
“Ajay Verma is our leader from Kondli area and we are sure that he will get a ticket to contest the polls. He has been working hard for the locality,” said Mohammed Alam, a party supporter, while proudly flaunting his T-shirt with the name of Verma printed on it.
The crowd broke into cheers and raised slogans praising Gandhi when he announced that the party would give tickets only to local leaders instead of para-dropping new faces.
“Such a workers’ convention addressed by the party’s vice president will definitely boost the morale of the workers. This was much needed,” said Imtiyaz Ahmed, a local Congress leader from Shakur Basti area of north Delhi.
Also probably for the first time the party leaders organised an orchestra to keep the crowd engaged. Popular songs such as Maa Tujhe Salam were played as dancers kept the crowd engrossed before Gandhi arrived around 6:30 pm.
To boost the supporters’ morale further, Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken compared the crowd with that of the gathering when Anna Hazare launched his campaign for the Jan Lokpal Bill.
Even though the Congress leaders were expecting around 26,000 people, police said that not more than 12,000 attended the rally. Party leaders, however, claimed that it was a successful convention as hundreds of people were still waiting outside the ground unable to find a seat. The venue was almost full to capacity.
There were some gaffes too, with leaflets which were distributed by the party to its supporters wrongly stated that LPG prices were higher during the Congress rule compared to what they are now.