Held first time since the 2001 prayer meeting

Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi were among the top leaders who paid homage, at the party headquarters here, to those killed in Saturday’s deadly attack by Maoists in Chhattisgarh.

This was the first such condolence gathering at the headquarters since October 2001, when a similar prayer meeting was held to mourn the deaths of senior party leader Madhavrao Scindia and some journalists in a plane crash.

On a plaque placed on stage were the names of all the Congressmen who were killed on Saturday, but general secretary Janardan Dwivedi stressed that the prayer gathering was not just for the party leaders but also for the policemen killed.

While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was unable to attend the meeting as he left for Japan on Monday, senior Ministers A.K. Antony, Salman Khurshid, Jairam Ramesh, M. Veerappa Moily and senior leaders Ambika Soni and Motilal Vora were present.

Dr. Singh, Ms. Gandhi and Mr. Gandhi visited the State to meet those injured in the attack.

Twenty-seven people were killed, including Mahendra Karma, former MLA, Uday Mudliyar, State unit chief Nand Kumar Patel and his son.

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