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Updated: September 15, 2009 13:01 IST

‘Austere’ Rahul takes a Shatabdi

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AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi at a press meet in Chennai recently. Photo: M. Vedhan
The Hindu AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi at a press meet in Chennai recently. Photo: M. Vedhan

Taking a lead from his mother and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi in practicing austerity, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday travelled to Ludhiana in the chair car of Shatabdi Express.

A day after his mother flew to Mumbai in economy class, Mr. Rahul Gandhi boarded the train on Tuesday morning from the New Delhi Railway Station to travel to the northern industrial city.

Mr. Rahul Gandhi refused to accept flowers presented to him at the station, saying it was the privilege of the executive class passengers and also demanded that he be served water in a plastic cup like other passengers.

Passengers travelling by the train were elated to know that the young leader was travelling with them.

“It is good that Rahul Gandhi is travelling with common people. He will get to see our problems first hand,” a male passenger said.

A woman travelling in the same coach said, “I am feeling great after hearing that I will travel with Rahul Gandhi.”

Railway officials said that Mr. Rahul Gandhi will be served parathas, curd, idli, vada and fruits.

However, this menu was exclusively for him, the officials said, adding that any specific requests by Mr. Rahul Gandhi will be gladly met.

Mr. Rahul Gandhi is going to the city to inaugurate a four-day camp of young Congressmen.

The AICC general secretary will return to the national capital by the same train in the evening.

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, who was behind the decision to ask two ministers S.M. Krishna and Shashi Tharoor to move to modest accommodation from their five-star dwelling after a media expose, on Monday flew to Mumbai in a commercial flight in an ordinary class seat to participate in a party function in the financial hub.

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