The huge crowd that had gathered outside 10, Janpath in the summer of 2004, and the emotional scenes that unfolded there, pleading with Sonia Gandhi to withdraw her decision to not become the Prime Minister, is stuff of Congress folklore. Compared to that, there has not been any spontaneous outpouring of emotions now that Rahul Gandhi has indicated that he does not want to continue as Congress president. One gets to hear that even the solidarity gathering outside his residence today had to be organised. Even then, it wasn’t much of a turnout. A senior Congress leader is learnt to have sent out messages to many state leaders to organise such street gatherings in their states as a show of solidarity with Rahul. Neither Rahul nor Priyanka Gandhi Vadra today met former Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit, who had gone inside the residence, or the Congress workers sloganeering outside.
Pulse Of Pulses
On the sidelines of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony, a small battle is brewing in the handi — over how long it takes to cook Dal Raisina. While chef Machindra Kasture, who first made the dish in 2010, claims it takes between six and eight hours, the current Rashtrapati Bhavan chef, Monty Saini, says it is a speciality of the President’s House and takes no less than 48 hours to cook. In fact, the dish that will be served to visiting dignitaries on Thursday has apparently been cooking since Tuesday night.
Until Wednesday evening, Samajwadi Party leaders were still guessing whether anyone else besides party chief Akhilesh Yadav would attend the oath-taking ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and members of his council of ministers. Akhilesh is the Lok Sabha MP from Azamgarh, the constituency represented by his father Mulayam Singh Yadav in 2014. At the time, the then BJP general secretary and the party’s Uttar Pradesh election in-charge, Amit Shah, had given Mulayam a special regard during the event. SP insiders are now discussing whether Mulayam may also attend Thursday’s event, even though he is no longer the party chief. He is now only a party MP from Mainpuri constituency.