When PM was kept waiting at Congress plenary! (Burari diary)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

NEW DELHI - He was waiting to be felicitated with a garland and a shawl at the Congress plenary here Sunday, but it took inordinately long and so Prime Minister Manmohan Singh decided to resume his seat on the dais!

Manmohan Singh was to be greeted by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and state party chief J.P. Agarwal, but the garland and the shawl took inexorably long to arrive.

An announcement was made by party general secretary Janardan Dwivedi at the start of proceedings that Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi were to be greeted.

The two Delhi leaders honoured Sonia Gandhi with a bouquet, a huge garland and a shawl.

But the garland and shawl for the prime minister did not arrive for quite some time after that.

The prime minister resumed his seat, forcing Agarwal to rush to the side of dais to fetch the huge garland which was decked in the party colours and the prime minister was finally felicitated.


Perhaps more amusing was Gandhi’s struggle while releasing a short history of the party in two volumes, brought out at her behest to mark 125 years of the party.

As Gandhi tried opening the wrapper containing the books, it did not fully come off. She tried for a few seconds, even smiling in between, before being helped by the leaders standing with her.

Gandhi, along with the prime minister also released a primer for party workers and the fifth volume of the party’s history. The earlier four volumes had been brought out during the party’s centenary.


During her speech, Gandhi, who was wearing a cream sari with a bright border, said party leaders, including chief ministers, should give up their discretionary powers for land allocation as it breeds corruption.

“No clapping for this!” she quickly added.


The bright lights that shone on the stage at the start of the function later dimmed, forcing Dwivedi to say that lighting arrangements needed to be spruced up.

The party delegates at the sprawling tented township at Burari in northwest Delhi started arriving at the venue since early morning Sunday to get the best seats in the huge tent that has a capacity of about 14,000 chairs.

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