Although Rahul is not in Delhi and travelling abroad, his absence did not deter party supporters from marking their leader's birthday with fanfare. Led by Jagdish Sharma, party supporters cut a birthday cake weighing 44-kg while hundreds of them gathered between Congress President Sonia Gandhi's official residence at 10, Janpath, and the AICC headquarters on 24, Akbar Road, amidst the beating of drums and bursting of crackers.
Huge cut-outs of the Congress Vice President were displayed on vehicles and party workers also distributed saris among poor women on the occasion.
Delhi: Celebrations held for Rahul Gandhi's birthday pic.twitter.com/NZtTYKZqbC— ANI (@ANI_news) June 19, 2014
This was the first celebration by Congress workers outside the party office after the crushing defeat in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, in which it recorded its worst-ever tally of 44 seats. The birthday celebrations this time are being held at a time when his stock seems to have fallen within the party with his style of functioning having come under attack from a number of senior leaders.
Huge cut-outs of the Congress Vice President were displayed on vehicles
Many have obliquely attacked his style of functioning by targeting his advisers.
Sharma, who had soon after Lok Sabha polls demanded that Priyanka Gandhi should be brought in to play a bigger role in the party side by side with Rahul to revive its fortunes, today demanded that leaders like Jagdish Tytler, Sajjan Kumar and MS Bitta should be honourably rehabilitated in the party so that it may grow.
Meanwhile, Youth Congress chief Rajiv Satav wished the Congress Vice President on Twitter while some other supporters and party leaders greeted him over the phone.
A year before, when Rahul's 43rd birthday was being celebrated, there had been a growing demand within the party for him to assume a larger role. To be precise, the call was for the party to declare him as its prime ministerial nominee for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Only six months before that, in January 2013, he had become the party Vice President.