Sonia, her flawless Hindi keep Congress hopes alive
A large crowd, including women, in this border town of Punjab waited in open for hours in the scorching sun for a glimpse and address of Sonia Gandhi at an election rally today.india Updated: May 03, 2009 21:10 IST
A large crowd, including women, in this border town of Punjab waited in open for hours in the scorching sun for a glimpse and address of Sonia Gandhi at an election rally on Sunday.
And when Gandhi in her flawless Hindi speech "saluted" Gurdaspur - "the land of warriors and hardworking people", the crowd, the women in particular, was left spellbound.
Looking glamorous in traditional attires, many of the women were dancing and singing with enthusiasm when Gandhi arrived.
"I salute this land (Gurdaspur). This is the land of warriors and hardworking people," Gandhi said, drawing loud cheers from people at a sprawling ground, seeking votes for her party candidate Partap Singh Bajwa.
For Ramninder Kaur, a college student, seeing Gandhi, even from a distance, was "a dream come true".
"I am satisfied to see her from a distance as it is just like a dream come true for me to see Sonia Gandhi standing just a few feet away from me. She is an immaculate orator and speaks really well," Kaur told IANS.
"I am sure Sonia Gandhi can change the face of rural Punjab and she would certainly do something for the betterment of women in Punjab," she said.
An 86-year-old Rama Devi said it is "good for the whole country that a strong women is leading the country's oldest party".
And Balwinder Gill, another women supporter of the Congress, was apprehensive about Sonia's visit. "Before coming here I thought she must be like any other leader who comes to garner votes. But I am amazed to find that she is well aware of this region and I am really impressed to hear her fluent Hindi."
The Congress' Bawa is pitted against Bharatiya Janata Party's Vinod Khanna in Gurdaspur, around 250 km from Chandigarh, which goes to polls in the fourth phase of the general elections May 7.
The actor-turned-politician, Vinod Khanna is seeking re-election from this backward constituency. But the going may be tough for him this time.
"He (Khanna) represents us in papers only. He is unaware of the problems of his own constituency. I have not seen him even once in the last five years," said Ramneek Bawa, who had also come to attend the Congress rally.
"Campaigning by big stars would not work this time (for Khanna), as we need a leader who represents the people of Gurdaspur," Bawa said.