|Early Times Report|
Srinagar, Aug 28: After getting the cold shoulder from the people of J&K during his visit to the state, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi indulged in theatrics on Friday when he roamed around various markets of Srinagar.
Much to the surprise of many onlookers, his party people and the security, Rahul took tea from a mobile tea stall at Lal Chowk, in the heart of the summer capital of the state.
In order to impress the people of Kashmir, who largely ignored him during the two-day visit, Rahul spent some time with the vendors in the food street and asked for tea from a vendor.
The Congress 'yuvraj' was accompanied by his party colleagues from J&K including state Congress chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir, many vice-presidents and general secretaries of the state Congress.
Sources said the Congress leaders and workers were shocked to see their vice-president indulging in theatrics, as former J&K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah used to do, after losing power.
"Instead of trying to strike a chord with the people of Kashmir by this drama, Rahul Gandhi should have spend time with the people rendered homeless by last year's flood in Kashmir," Hilal Ahmad, a readymade garment dealer at Budshah Chowk, told Early Times.
"These politicians are best at theatrics. When in power they say and do one thing and once out of power they do the opposite," Hilal said.
"They should realize that people of J&K have woken up and will not allow themselves to be fooled again by these petty politicians," he said.
Even as Rahul tried in vain to strike a chord with people in Srinagar, his visit to Sopore on Thursday caused immense hardship to local residents.
The residents woke up on Thursday morning to a heavy presence of soldiers in full military gear, with their military vehicles, occupying virtually every nook and cranny. "People who stepped out to buy bread in the morning were frisked and even the elderly, out for morning prayers, were stopped and asked to prove their identity. There was a sudden realisation that life on Thursday would be shackled because the vice-president of the Congress party, Rahul Gandhi, was scheduled to visit the town," reports said.
Late in the afternoon, Srinagar-based journalists boycotted media interaction with Rahul Gandhi to protest against the highhandedness of his security staff.
The Congress party had invited journalists for the media interaction at 4:30 pm at Nehru Guest house. However, the security staff heckled the reporters and made them to wait outside for nearly one hour. The Special Protection Group (SPG) staff misbehaved with journalists who were allowed inside only after Congress functionaries intervened in the matter.
However, even as the interaction was scheduled on 4:30 pm, Rahul did not meet the journalists for over one hour. Most of the journalists didn't enter inside Nehru Guest house. Later some of them who were allowed inside boycotted the interaction.