Mumbai: Congress's venue woes for Rahul Gandhi's city event

May 31, 2018, 11:10 IST | Dharmendra Jore

City unit divided over Shanmukhananda Hall as venue; party says no money for larger venue

Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi

Congress president Rahul Gandhi will share his new-found aggressive anti-Narendra Modi vision with the party's karyakartas (booth level workers) at Sion's Shanmukhananda Hall on June 12. However, some senior party insiders have questioned the low scale of the event, which they think should be held at a much larger venue if all booths are to be accommodated and addressed by Gandhi at 3pm.

"Mumbai has a number of booths, much higher than the seats available at the venue. The indoor venue cannot accommodate everyone, even if a single representative from each booth decides to attend. The event of this size should have been held at a venue that can seat at least 10,000 people," said a Mumbai Congress office-bearer, requesting anonymity. His views were endorsed by at least five other senior leaders.

The Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) has already sent out entry cards to its units. MRCC president Sanjay Nirupam refused to share details of the programme with mid-day. Another Congress leader said the question raised by his colleagues was valid, but said the organisers needed to be careful as the monsoon would set in by June 12 and an indoor venue would help in any eventuality.

"The hall at Sion that we have hired is the biggest in the city, and many events of this magnitude have been held here successfully in the past, not just by the Congress but other political parties as well," he said. When asked if the party would think of shifting the event to a bigger venue, say a ground where a rain-proof tent could be erected, the leader said money was a major concern. "We may have time on hand, but the party's city unit does not have the funds for such a venue," he said.

Rahul to appear in Bhiwandi court
The Mumbai event has been organised on June 12 because Rahul Gandhi will be appearing before a Bhiwandi court in a defamation case on the same day. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has filed the case following Gandhi's allegations the RSS had killed Mahatma Gandhi. He had skipped a court appearance on April 23, but the court had asked him to be present at the next hearing. The Congress president had appeared before the court earlier as well.

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Rahul Gandhi conducts high level meeting of party general secretaries at Congress headquarters