ALLAHABAD: There were calls for the birth centenary celebrations of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to be held at her birthplace here and requests for a member of her family to represent the Allahabad Lok Sabha seat as local Congress leaders met party chief Sonia Gandhi today.
Gandhi arrived in the city last evening on a "private visit" after completing a two-day tour of her parliamentary constituency of Rae Bareli.
Party workers led by MLA Anugrah Narayan Singh and district Congress chief Anil Dwivedi met Gandhi at the historic Swaraj Bhavan this morning.
"However, the AICC president had made it clear that she was not going to give any political message since it was a private visit," said UPCC spokesman Kishore Varshney.
"Nevertheless, the party leaders took the opportunity to place a few requests. These included celebrating the birth centenary of Indira Gandhi -- on November 19 this year -- at Swaraj Bhawan itself where the former prime minister was born," he said.
According to Varshney, the Congress workers are of the view that the celebrations could be used for sounding the bugle against the BJP government at the Centre.
"She was also requested to consider fielding a member of the family (Nehru-Gandhi) from Allahabad in the next general elections which, they assured, would work wonders for reviving the party in the district from where heavyweights like Jawaharlal Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri have been elected to the Lok Sabha," the UPCC spokesman said.
The Congress leaders also submitted a memorandum to her seeking pressure be put on the government for construction of a state-of-the-art cancer institute close to Swaraj Bhavan which was conceptualised by former Prime Minister and her late husband Rajiv Gandhi, he said.
Varshney could not give details about the Congress chief itinerary, saying "since it is a private visit, the local party unit has no definite idea of her schedule".
"We had thought she would be flying back to Delhi this morning. Thankfully she stayed back and gave us a hearing.
"Her chartered plane is ready at Bamrauli airport on the outskirts of the city. She is likely to leave later in the day," he said.