Women representation low at AICC meet (Sidelights)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

NEW DELHI - Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s repeated commitment to 33 percent reservation to women in public life was hardly reflected on the dais of the special All India Congress Committee (AICC) meeting here at Talkatora stadium Tuesday.

Of the 100-odd top leaders seated on the dais, less than 10 were women. Among the 1,200 people in the AICC members’ section, not more than 150 were women.

Besides party chief Gandhi, other women leaders on the dais included AICC general secretary Mohsina Kidwai, leader of the Himachal Pradesh Congress legislative party (CLP) Vidya Stokes, Punjab CLP leader Rajinder Kumar Bhattal and Uttar Pradesh party chief Rita Joshi.

However, Gandhi said that the party was committed to pass the Women’s Reservation Bill in the Lok Sabha. Asked about the under-representation of women, an AICC member said: “Sonia Gandhi alone has more than 50 percent weightage among Congress leaders!”


Sorry, no lunch!

When it comes to eating, no one can beat Congress workers. Despite elaborate arrangements for lunch for the mediapersons covering the session, the dining hall ran out of food for journalists.

Delhi Pradesh Congress chief J.P. Aggarwal personally met some of the “starving mediapersons” and regretted the food scarcity. “This time, some shortcomings have happened. We will make better arrangements at the three-day plenary session to be held here next month,” he said.


Manmohan look-alike attracts shutterbugs

A look-alike of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh - wearing a white kurta-pyjama and a turban - was a big media draw.

The look-alike, who sat in the print media press gallery for some time, was asked to leave by some agitated mediapersons. But he was chased by photographers after the meeting.


Rahul all the way

Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi was the star attraction at the AICC meeting as Congress leaders vied for his attention, workers shouted slogans and delegates demanded that he address them.

The 40-year-old Nehru family scion started his speech: “I had no plans to speak here. But ‘aap ne mujhe fassaya’ (you people have trapped me to speak).”

When Rahul walked, from his sixth-row seat on the dais, up to party chief Sonia Gandhi, who was presiding over the meeting while being seated on the floor, and held discussions, photo journalists were excited. “My day is made,” said one.


Rivals from Delhi share honours

Leaders of rival groups in Delhi Congress were given due representation at the AICC meeting.

While state Congress chief J.P. Aggarwal made the welcome speech, his rival group leader and Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit delivered the vote of thanks. Tajdar Babbar, a former state party chief, was also seated on the dais.


Congress culture

Security personnel had verbal duels with journalists who arrived late for the AICC meeting.

A few mediapersons were denied entry for some time.

“You people are showing Congress culture by late-coming,” a Delhi policeman shouted, to the embarrassment of party functionaries present there.

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