The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Loving mom here, doting dad there
- Rahul’s first day, sweet and short

New Delhi, Sept. 25: Like his mother who loves football because it is “faster” than cricket, Rahul Gandhi wasted no time in checking out his new office room but did not exactly hit the ground running.

The newly appointed Congress general secretary, accompanied by mother Sonia, his bodyguard and aide Kanishka Singh, today put in a rare appearance at the party office.

Mother and son walked the 100-metre distance from Sonia’s 10 Janpath residence to 24 Akbar Road, primarily to inspect the room allotted to him and share pleasantries with the office-bearers who were rustled up on short notice.

An interaction with the media was apparently on the cards but on spotting a group of Congress workers, who cut through the security cordon, Rahul changed his mind and left without a word.

He will sit in a room right next to his mother’s. The earlier occupant, Janardhan Dwivedi, has already removed his nameplate. Dwivedi, who lost the media department chairman’s post in the party shuffle, has been given Ambika Soni’s room.

Rahul sat on the swivel chair for a while. His mother, Ahmed Patel and Motilal Vora kept him company. They congregated in the committee room for an extended meeting with the other functionaries in the capital.

“Political” conversation was not on the menu. Everybody greeted Rahul over tea and gulab jamuns procured from the Udupi Sagar Ratna outlet on the Congress campus.

Given the heavy security ring around Rahul, nobody could say how often he would drop into the office. Sonia seldom visits, except during an election.

Sonia stayed on to indulge in a bit of balmy chatter about cricket, Indian Idol, old age and youth in the course of which a well-kept secret tumbled out.

A source quoted her as saying she found cricket “slow”, compared with the “fast-paced” football despite which she and Rahul watched the Twenty20 final. “I am an ardent fan of football. Cricket is a slow game but football is much faster,” the source quoted her as saying.

Someone suggested that the Congress should felicitate Dhoni and his boys when they arrive in the capital.

Margaret Alva, who bagged several states in yesterday’s changes, told Sonia how happy she was to see “young faces come in place of fading faces like mine”. Alva took care to point out that on a day when India’s young cricket team won, “fresh faces came into the AICC”.

“Age and youth have to work together,” Sonia reminded Alva.

Alva recalled her long association with the Gandhis: Indira, Rajiv, Sonia and now Rahul. “I told Madam where I was sitting then,” Alva, who started off as a secretary to Indira Gandhi in 1975, said.

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