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As Das arrives, partymen rejoice

THEY HELD the banners high, danced to the drumbeats, bursted crackers and even garlanded their leader, though many of them may not be even familiar with him. They had come to see Rajya Sabha MP Akhilesh Das who got an unprecedented and rousing welcome on his first visit here today, after being inducted as the Minister of State into the Union Council of Ministers.

india Updated: Feb 12, 2006 01:19 IST

THEY HELD the banners high, danced to the drumbeats, bursted crackers and even garlanded their leader, though many of them may not be even familiar with him. They had come to see Rajya Sabha MP Akhilesh Das who got an unprecedented and rousing welcome on his first visit here today, after being inducted as the Minister of State into the Union Council of Ministers.

There were large arches and a record number of makeshift pandals all the way from Amausi from where Das proceeded to the city. Entire roads —- right from the Congress office at Mall Avenue to the Amausi Airport — weree decked up with banners, buntings and hoardings. The party workers had put up 101 daises along the road to welcome their leader. Patriotic songs were being played at some pandals while at some others, women sang Bhojpuri songs.

A strong mob had gathered at the Amausi Airport where Das’ plane landed at 2.30 pm, one hour behind the schedule. Mounted on a chariot, Das proceeded, soon after he arrived, in a convoy comprising over 100 buses, cars and other vehicles. Accompanying him on the chariot were senior Congress leaders Pramod Tiwari and Jagdambika Pal besides others. The excited workers and the people in general stopped the convoy at all the pandals to welcome their leader. At some places, school children were also seen to honour the former Mayor. Everybody wanted to garland the newly-appointed Minister closely. But most of them had to be satisfied by throwing flowers and garlands on him from a distance, though some brave ones managed to reach him making a difficult climb on the chariot named as ‘Vikas Rath’. Some overjoyed workers also shot fires in the air. But Das advised them not to believe in bullet but in ballot. He called upon them to oust the Mulayam Government.

Addressing the waiting crowed on the way, Akhilesh Das said the Central leadership had just realised the importance of Lucknow by inducting him into the Union Cabinet. He promised to serve the people in the best possible manner.

Later, his procession converted into a public meeting at the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) headquarters where the convoy reached after eight hours of its journey.

First Published: Feb 12, 2006 01:19 IST