Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday embarked on a 50-km roadshow from here to Salipur in Cuttack district on the first day of his Odisha visit. As soon as the Nehru-Gandhi scion arrived at the Biju Patnaik International Airport, he was received by State Congress leaders including OPCC President Jaydev Jena and AICC General Secretary B K Hariprasad. Party workers welcomed him to the state, as slogans like ‘Rahul Gandhi Zindabad…’ rent the air.
Followed by nearly a dozen of cars, Rahul’s cavalcade passed through Sishu Bhavan Chhak, Rajmahal Chhak, Cuttack Road, Rasulgarh Chhak before leaving the precincts of state capital. Rahul, who began his first ever road show in the state, was greeted by hundreds standing on both side of road.
The security personnel had a tough time at Rasulgarh Chhak as Rahul got down from his car to meet some women standing alongside the road. Some of them thanked him for influencing the Centre to announce rise in LPG cylinder quota to 12.
“The Congress vice-president’s typical smile hooked me,” said Smita Das, a management student. “I wanted to have glimpse of country’s youth leader.”
“Rahulji wants to interact with women, students as well as people belonging from minority community through road shows for one-to-one interaction,” said Nabarangpur MP Pradip Majhi.
Before reaching the Cuttack city, Rahul’s car stopped at Gopalpur on the National Highway where he came out and met with people standing on the road side.
Rahul’s roadshow preceded BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s, two days from now. However, state BJP spokesman Suren Pujari claimed that
Rahul’s visit would have no impact on the people of Odisha.
“Rahul’s visit will have no influence on our people as they have suffered badly during the UPI-I and II. Congress supporters might be elated to see Rahul Gandhji, but the people of the state are upset with the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre,” said senior BJD leader and government Chief Whip Pravat Tripathy.
While Delhi was ruled by the Congress during the major part of the period under study, Jain said the white paper was not a political move.