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Cong workers continue 'protests' outside 10 Janpath

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Mar 24 (UNI) Chanting pro-Sonia Gandhi slogans, hundreds of anguished Congress workers turned up at 10, Janpath today to voice their disappointment and express solidarity with party President Ms Sonia Gandhi after she quit the Lok Sabha and the National Advisory Council.

Hordes of party workers, including many women, had stayed up all night outside her residence, since last evening when an overwhelming outpour of emotions by Congress workers was reminscent of the happenings of May 2004 when Ms Gandhi refused to stake claim of the nation's premiership.

This morning many leaders, including local MP Sajjan Kumar, MLA Mukesh Sharma and Delhi University Students Union President Ragini Nayak, egged the crowd shouting anti-BJP/SP slogans and urging the party chief to take back her resignation.

Party workers, some carrying Congress flags, some wearing party colours, had kept vigil all night and their numbers swelled this morning.

Adequate security arrangements had been made to ensure things did not go out of hand as in 2004 a worker had threatened to shoot himself.

Last evening, a sea of humanity descended at 10, Janpath as Congress workers from all parts of the city, and from other states urged UPA chairperson to withdraw her resignation.

As soon as news of the UPA chairperson resigning from her Lok Sabha seat as well as from the chairmanship of the National Advisory Council got around, hordes of Congress workers gathered outside her residence to voice their grief over the sudden turn of events.

Carrying Congress flags and placards of 'Sonia Gandhi Zindabad', the workers, many of them wearing the traditional khadi kurtas and the Gandhi cap, converged in huge numbers at 10, Janpath in an effort to convince their leader to take back her resignation.

Shouts of 'Sonia Gandhi Zindabad' and 'Sonia Istifa Wapas Lo' rent the air as Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee cadres from South Delhi and Central Delhi as well as from the far away West and North Delhi filled the road outside the Congress leaders house, refusing to budge till she took it back.

Scores of Congress workers indulged in chest-beating while others burnt effigies and banners of the BJP, which had made Sonia's resignation the pivot of its agitation in the Parliament.

Also, like last time, Sonia Gandhi's resignation led to a stream of politicians pouring in at the exalted portals of 10, Janpath, prominent among them being Ram Vilas Paswan, Motilal Vora, R K Dhawan and Jagdish Tytler to persuade her to 'reconsider' her resignation from the Lok Sabha and the National Advisory Council.

Although all indications pointed to the Congress president sticking to her decision, Congress workers were in no mood to relent.

Preparing themselves for a long haul, workers lined up on both sides of the road near her residence, resolving to stick around untill Ms Gandhi relented.

In fact as time passed by, crowds outside 10, Janpath swelled - the scores of people in the afternoon had risen to hundreds by the evening.

Some Congress workers were seen to have come from states like Gujarat and Punjab to implead with Ms Gandhi to withdraw her resignation.

Describing Sonia's resignation from her Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seat as a perfect example of her spirit of supreme sacrifice on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the martrydom day of revolutionary Bhagat Singh, Lajwanti, a Congress worker from Punjab said,''Sonia Gandhi is for us an ultimate symbol of sacrifice.

Earlier, too, she displayed her sacrificing spirit when she renounced Prime Ministership two years ago. And, now she has reiterated it by quitting from her Lok Sabha seat.'' Alleging that Sonia's resignation was part of a conspiracy, Prakash Kumar, a Congress leader from North Delhi said,''Soniaji has resigned from her seat and expressed her decision to contest from Rae Bareli again. I am sure that this time round she will be returned to the Lok Sabha with a bigger margin than before.'' Impleading with Ms Gandhi to withdraw her resignation, workers of the Mahila Congress gathered outside her residence said,''Soniaji's presence in Parliament has given a boost to the movement for women's emancipation in the country. So we plead with her to take back her resignation.'' UNI IP SHB PC1451

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