Pachouri arrives to rapturous welcome

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Bhopal, Feb 16 (UNI) Union Minister of State for Personnel and Parliamentary Affairs Suresh Pachouri, who was recently appointed Madhya Pradesh Congress president, arrived to a rapturous welcome in the state capital today.

Several senior leaders and thousands of party workers had gathered at the local Raja Bhoj airport to welcome Mr Pachouri, who visited the state capital for the first time after being appointed as state Congress president.

The moment Mr Pachouri arrived by a special aircraft at 1300 hours along with Congress party's Madhya Pradesh inchagre secretary Jatin Prasad, party workers started chanting slogans of 'Sonia Gandhi Zindabad' and 'Suresh Pachouri Zindabad'.

Mr Pachouri then drove to the Congress office in an open jeep in the form of a rally. Congress flags and posters had been put all along about 12 km-long route.

Hundreds of people and a large number of vehicles from various parts of the state joined the rally resulting in traffic jam causing severe inconvenience to people.

After assuming office, Mr Pachouri briefly interacted with media.

He said he would leave no stone unturned to effectively discharge the responsibility given to him by party President Sonia Gandhi.

Several senior leaders were present to welcome Mr Pachouri but Union Minister Arjun Singh's son and senior party leader Ajay Singh was conspicuous by their absence. Mr Singh was appointed state party publicity campaign committee president at the same time when Mr Pachouri was given this post.

Party sources said Mr Singh was not here and would return on February 19.

Political observers believe that Mr Pachouri, who replaced Mr Subhash Yadav as state Congress President, had a big challenge to bring party leaders of the faction-ridden party at one platform in view of the upcoming state assembly election.

UNI SD-PS AKJ RN2057

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