Some things never change in the Congress, particularly when it comes to the Gandhis. It was Ra-Ra-Ra-hul all the way on Friday as enthusiastic Congress workers across the country celebrated his 39th birthday in style and substance.
There were cakes, crackers, balloons and bouquets — and in states where the Congress needs to reinvent itself, community feasts for Dalits and the disadvantaged were organised. But the birthday boy himself was nowhere to be seen. He was abroad, missing out on the festivities here for the third year in a row.
Rahul shares his birthday with Bollywood’s Katrina Kaif and Mynmar’s pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi.
For a party that derives its sustenance and drive from the Gandhis, the Amethi MP’s birthday provided the workers with a perfect opportunity to sing hosannas to the young leader who, they believe, will one day soon become the prime minister.
In Delhi, outside the Congress headquarters, workers brought a 39-kg cake on a rath with Rahul’s picture and amid the roll of drums, eating pieces and smearing others. The icing on the cake —“Rahul hi Rahul’’—- reflected the emotions of the party workers.
Wouldn’t critics dub all this as sycophancy? “This is an expression of the emotion of Congress workers towards their young leader. He could have been Prime Minister. But he spurned it and decided to work among the people,’’ said party activist Jagdish Sharma, who organised the show outside the Congress headquarters and near 10 Janpath, Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s residence.
Congress workers celebrated the day as ‘Yuva Shakti Divas’ (Youth Power Day) in Maharashtra and ‘Samrastra Divas’ (Harmony Day) in Uttar Pradesh— where Rahul is seen as the architect of the party’s good performance in the Lok Sabha elections.