Gandhi's remark in half-jest at the tea party after the farewell function held for outgoing President Pratibha Patil drew an instant reaction from Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj, who was also having a chat with the Congress chief. "Don't do anything," Swaraj told Patel, leaving him literally speechless.
When reporters later asked Gandhi as to what was her message to the NCP with the stand-off still persisting, the Congress Chief refused to comment. "No message, no message," she said, waving her hands. Rahul Gandhi was by her side.
NCP Chief and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, who was present in the Central Hall during the farewell speech of Patil to MPs, did not attend the tea party. Pawar was seated next to Defence Minister AK Antony in the front row during the speech. But soon after the programme ended, Pawar left Parliament after exchanging pleasantries with some MPs. Gandhi and Swaraj were seen chatting for most part of their stay at the tea party.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Speaker Meira Kumar, BJP Parliamentary Party Chief LK Advani and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley were present along with Patil.