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People promise Sonia victory

SHE PAID obeisance to deities and gave 'dakshina' to priests in temples. She received blessings from elders and 'affection' from children. ?Don't worry, go ahead and file your nomination papers. You are our 'bahu' and we will give a befitting reply to your opponents,? people assured Congress president Sonia Gandhi. In villages on the route from Lucknow to Rae Bareli, people lined up on both sides of the road to have a glimpse of Sonia and bless her for victory in the by-election.

india Updated: Apr 18, 2006 00:58 IST

SHE PAID obeisance to deities and gave 'dakshina' to priests in temples. She received blessings from elders and 'affection' from children.

“Don't worry, go ahead and file your nomination papers. You are our 'bahu' and we will give a befitting reply to your opponents,” people assured Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

In villages on the route from Lucknow to Rae Bareli, people lined up on both sides of the road to have a glimpse of Sonia and bless her for victory in the by-election.  

On Monday, Sonia landed at Amausi airport and left for Rae Bareli to file her nomination papers. A large number of Congress leaders and workers gathered at the airport since early in the morning.

They gave a tumultuous welcome to Sonia when her motorcade moved out of the airport. Son Rahul, daughter Priyanka and son-in law Robert Vadra followed her with senior Congress leaders Salman Khurshid, Sriprakash Jaiswal, Pramod Tiwari, Ashok Gehlot etc.

Congress workers and people had built welcome gates and arches on the way. Special Protection Group personnel had a tough time managing the crowd, as Sonia broke the security cordon to meet people.

When the motorcade reached Lucknow- Rae Bareli border, vehicles screeched to a halt before a Hanuman temple in Churwa village. Sonia along with Rahul, Priyanka and Robert, entered into the temple.

She put her head on the pedestal, offered flowers to the deity and gave ‘dakshina’ to the priest. The priest Chandramani Awasthi put vermillion on her forehead and blessed her for victory in the by-election.

A beaming Sonia came out of the temple and waved to the crowd.

A large number of supporters awaited her at Bachrawa town. Her vehicle was stopped at each nook and corner, as people were eager to welcome her. The election offices of Samajwadi Party candidate Rajkumar Chaudhary and Apna Dal candidate Prabha Singh wore a deserted look. Samajwadi Party workers watched the crowd in awe. “This is a Congress bastion and our contest is merely symbolic,” they said.