The relatively dull and low profile campaigning in Mysore got a boost with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s election rally at the Maharaja’s College grounds here on Friday.
It was the first such high-profile election rally held in the region so far. Though senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushma Swaraj was to address a rally here on Friday, it was cancelled. Even AICC supremo Sonia Gandhi’s rally on May 2 was called off.
Though the rally was slated to commence at 2.30 p.m. he reached Mysore only at 4.20 p.m after finishing the rallies in Tumkur and Haveri. But the 25,000–30,000 crowd waited patiently braving the heat and dust and sat through his speech, which lasted nine minutes in all.
When Mr. Gandhi made his appearance and waved at the crowd, he was greeted with a loud applause and shouts of “Rahul Gandhi ki jai”. But a louder applause was reserved for Congress leader Siddaramaiah .
Though political rallies tend to be a monologue where the speakers deliver a speech from the pulpit, Mr. Gandhi broke the mould and tried to interact with the crowd and energise them. He raised questions and asked the crowd to answer. When Mr. Gandhi asked why there should be direct cash transfer and urged the crowd to answer, he got a feeble response. Since the speech was in Hindi and there was no translator, the crowd could grasp the essence of his speech but not the finer nuances.