HYDERABAD:It was like a wedding, where the groom didn’t turn up. Congress leaders who had decked up the city with flex boards, cutouts and banners with Rahul Gandhi all along the main thoroughfares of Hyderabad, were left wringing their hands when their leader didn’t turn up. Hundreds of party workers and activists had pulled out all stops with banners and buntings; the policemen, who had already conducted an Advance Security Liaison (ASL) drill were getting ready for a long day in the sun, when they heard the news: Rahul Gandhi is skipping Hyderabad!
At the end of the day, the calling off of Hyderabad leg of the Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s visit appeared even more mysterious than his 60-day disappearance. Congress leaders and workers appeared a disappointed lot, considering all the money spent on preparations to welcome the ‘prince’.
Was it a security concern or was it simply a mood swing on the part of Rahul Gandhi which led ‘Rahul Baba’ to cancel his Hyderabad visit in the last minute?
Neither the Telangana state police, who had made massive arrangements for Rahul’s visit nor the Congress politicos had a clear answer as to why the Gandhi scion called off his visit to the city abruptly.
‘’We received a message from New Delhi this morning informing us that due to some unavoidable reasons, his Hyderabad visit has been cancelled. We do not know the exact reason,’’ a senior police official disclosed to Express. Asked whether it had something to do with security detail or other concerns, the official said that all security arrangements were in place and even the ASL was done and therefore, security concern may not be the issue. ‘’Still, I am not sure,’’ he said and added that SPG was in touch and they never spoke of any security issues.
However, another police official said that the cancellation of Rahul Gandhi’s programme in the last minute was not due to security concerns, but has taken place many a time earlier.
‘’Rahul was to travel from Shamshabad airport to Nirmal in Adilabad district (around 230 kms) and address party workers at a few places in between. He might have changed his mind and wanted a shorter programme,’’ the official, well-versed with Rahul Gandhi’s functioning, disclosed.
As news broke about the cancellation of Rahul’s visit, several Congress leaders and workers were left red-faced.