It was an agonising three-and-a-half hours in sweltering conditions, with the mercury crossing the 40 degrees Celsius mark, for the people waiting for All-India Congress Committee (AICC) vice-president Rahul Gandhi to address the election meeting at the Government College grounds in Sindhanur town, Raichur district, on Tuesday.

Worse, there wasn’t adequate drinking water for all those gathered for the function.

Mr. Gandhi, who was scheduled to arrive at 10 a.m. to address his first election meeting in the State, finally arrived in a helicopter at 1.30 p.m.

Patience shown

Enduring the severe heat, the people, particularly women, waited patiently, some in the huge pandal put up by the Congress, and the majority under trees or out in the unforgiving open sky. Spirited speeches by Congress candidates and leaders kept the people in good spirits till Mr. Gandhi arrived to deliver his address.

When he finally came, Mr. Gandhi apologised for his tardiness, much to the appreciation of the people gathered there.

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