Rahul Skips Cong Farewell Dinner for Manmohan Singh
Battling negative perceptions, the Congress scored yet another self goal on Wednesday when party vice-president Rahul Gandhi skipped the farewell dinner hosted by his mother, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur.
With the party’s most visible face during the long campaign missing, the “warm send-off’’ planned for the two-term Prime Minister was not just marred a bit, but also shocked the Congress leaders attending it. Many of them later wondered what could had taken the young leader “out of station’’ two days before the results were expected. One of them later quipped, the “General left the battlefield in anticipation of an exit treaty.’’
At the farewell dinner, mainly attended by the Congress Working Committee members and ministers of the outgoing Cabinet, the PM was given a plaque in appreciation of his contribution to the party and running the government. It was signed by all the top leaders of the party.
Pallam Raju read out the dedication inscribed in the memento, which was then presented to the Prime Minister and his wife. This is the first time that a sitting Prime Minister of the country has been given a send-off that too before the election results were declared. But then, the outcome as predicted by the exit polls is expected to bring bad tiding for the Congress/UPA dispensation.
It seems the party backing for the Prime Minister came thanks to a pointed intervention from Sonia. Sources said she firmly put it across that she will not let the party leaders blame the PM, whatever the results.