Loud firecrackers interrupt Sonia’s last speech as President

New Delhi, Dec 16 (IANS) As Sonia Gandhi took to the stage to deliver her last speech as Congress President after handing charge to her son Rahul Gandhi, she was forced to pause several times as the loud fireworks set off by enthusiastic party workers drowned out her voice. “I can’t speak,” she said helplessly.

She began: “This is my last address to you as Congress President, as you face a new era under a new leadership…” — but was interrupted by the fireworks.

“Nearly twenty years ago….(again interruption)….

She paused as the loud fireworks by Congress workers drowned out her voice completely.

At this a miffed Rahul Gandhi stood up, walked towards the extreme corner of the dais and instructed party workers to get the fireworks stopped.

Meanwhile, party General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi also appealed to Seva Dal workers to get the fireworks stopped. But the appeal failed.

Sonia Gandhi started again: “Nearly twenty years ago when I stood before you to address you for the first time as your chosen President..(interruption).”

“I can’t speak..My voice is..,” a visibly disappointed Sonia said shaking her head.

She turned back and asked if she could stop her speech.

“I have to shout..if I shout, then my voice fails,” said a visibly annoyed Sonia Gandhi. Rahul Gandhi then came to his mother’s rescue and assured her.

As the fireworks faded out, Sonia Gandhi continued, and managed to complete the sentence. “Nearly twenty years ago when I stood before you to address you for the first time as your chosen President, I was so nervous that my hands were shaking.

“I could not think how I managed to take charge of this historic organization. It was a formidable and onerous task that confronted me,” she said.

When Rahul Gandhi came to deliver his speech he remarked in Hindi, referring to the fireworks. “Dekhiye aapke saamne udharan hai, ek baar aag lag jati hai toh use bujhana bahut mushkil hota hai. Yehi hum BJP ke logo ko samjhane ki koshish kar rahe hain..ekbar aapne desh mai aag laga di, usko bujhana bahut mushkil hota hai.”

(See there is an example before you. Once something catches fire, it becomes very difficult to douse it. We try to explain the same thing to BJP. Once you set the country on fire, it becomes very difficult to put it out).

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