While the Congress’s floor managers in Lok Sabha were hoping Sonia Gandhi, chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party, would chair a meeting of party MPs in Parliament at 10.15 am, and messages had even gone out to some MPs that she may attend the meeting, a change of plan was made at the last minute.
The former Congress president took off to Rajasthan to be with their son and party MP Rahul Gandhi, who is leading the Bharat Jodo Yatra there.
On Thursday morning, most Congress MPs were watching television screens to follow the Assembly elections’ results in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.
She is scheduled to celebrate her 76th birthday with her children, Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, at a resort owned by a close friend of the family in Ranthambore on Friday.
Bharat Jodo Yatra has a rest day on Friday. As well as Priyanka, she’s in Rajasthan.
The Congress got decimated in Gujarat, but Priyanka’s campaign for Himachal Pradesh brought the party back to power.
Thursday wasn’t the evening leg of the yatra. A 13 to 14 km march from 6.30 am to 10.30 am, followed by a five-hour break, a 7 to 8 km march in the evening, or even a 10 km march.
Rahul was in Kota on Thursday, and sources say the yatris walked 24 km that morning. A helicopter took Rahul from Bundi to Ranthambore.
Gandhis are staying at Sujan Sher Bagh, a luxury resort near Ranthambore Tiger Reserve owned by Anjali and Jaisal Singh, family friends. In fact, Priyanka and the couple co-wrote a book – ‘Ranthambhore: The Tiger’s Realm’.
Her visit to Rajasthan is supposed to last four days.
From Jaipur, Sonia took a chopper to Sawai Madhopur. She joined Rahul and Priyanka at the resort a few hours later. The yatra will be for women on December 10, so Sonia – and maybe Priyanka – will take part.
Sources said that Sonia’s family wants the birthday celebration to be a family affair, but Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot could travel to Ranthambore tomorrow.
In Kota, the yatra started from Surymukhi Hanuman Temple and stopped at Bhadana village. In Bundi, the yatris will stay at Gurli village.