Congress leaders scramble to meet Rahul Gandhi, 338 shortlisted
The AICC vice-president is going to hold a slew of about nine meetings on his day-long visit to the city, to 'assess party work'; decision not to visit drought-affected areas invites criticism
The city Congress unit’s excitement over hosting the newly elected AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi in the city today can be gauged by the fact that no less than 338 names have been shortlisted for meetings with the Gandhi scion. Such was the rush for a coveted meet and greet with the man that a Congress leader even changed his designation to force himself into the category of ‘elected’ office bearers who get to meet Gandhi.
Gandhi had requested only to meet the elected office bearers of the units each of which has a president, three vice-presidents and a treasurer. He also wanted to meet frontal chiefs of wings like the district Mahila Congress, Youth Congress, Seva Dal and NSUI. Not wanting to be left out, the general secretary of the Mumbai North-West District Congress Committee added his name to the list, tagging himself as a vice-president. The trick even escaped the notice of district MLA Baldeo Khosa, who is also district chief of the party. The list was then forwarded to Rahul Gandhi’s office.
Meanwhile, MPCC chief Manikrao Thakre said the daylong interaction was not being organised to pick out a chief for the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC), which is lying vacant. He said that the meetings, which will be held at the state Congress headquarters in Tilak Bhavan instead of the MRCC office at Azad Maidan, is to assess party work. Apart from meeting MLAs, MPs and BMC corporators of his party, Rahul will interact with elected office bearers from six district Congress units and the party’s frontal chiefs.
The fact that Rahul Gandhi chose to meet sundry officials instead of visiting drought-affected parts of the state has also raised eyebrows. “It would have been most appropriate, since NCP chief Sharad Pawar, MNS chief Raj Thackeray have been touring the state. At least a rally should have been organised in Mumbai that would have sent a right message,” said a leader. Even Congress chief Sonia Gandhi did not tour drought-affected areas when she visited Palghar recently.