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Working day for PM Modi, quiet dinner for Gandhis — how politicians spent New Year’s Eve

Several ministers spent the last day of 2019 in their constituencies, while Kejriwal attended a musical evening, and Akhilesh Yadav flagged off a rally against CAA.

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New Delhi: For a working day as usual for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to a quiet dinner for the Gandhi family, India’s top politicians ushered in the New Year, 2020, in their own style.

“PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah live for the nation,” BJP spokesperson Suresh Verma told ThePrint. “For them, there is no concept of a holiday. They were working yesterday as well.”

Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi spent the evening with his mother, interim party president Sonia Gandhi, and sister and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra at Sonia’s residence.

“All three, Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka are in Delhi,” a Congress functionary told ThePrint. “They had a quiet dinner at 10 Janpath.”

Other senior Congress leaders tried to combine work and travel while making time for family, as BJP leaders took a cue from Modi and Shah and focused on their constituencies. Union Minister Harsh Vardhan did a puja at home.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia hosted a gathering for close family and friends.

Travel with family for Congress leaders

For Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary, the festivity wasn’t without workload.

“There is new challenge of sorts for anyone in the opposition now,” Chowdhary told ThePrint. “The political dynamics have changed. Of course, there is a holiday mood and I have tried to ensure I can spend time with my family and make sure I don’t compromise on work.”

Chowdhary spent the New Year’s Eve with his family in Ooty, from where he will leave for Coimbatore and Kochi the day after as part of his work as the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor spent 31 December with family members in the US.

“His mother, Lily Tharoor, turned 84 this year. That is a very significant year in the Malayalam calendar. So, her entire family has decided to spend the evening with her,” an aide told ThePrint.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath welcomed the New year with close friends and family in Manali.

“He was in Manali, at his resort called Span,” a Congress insider told ThePrint. Nath’s team, however, said they could not confirm how he spent the New Year.

Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala spent the evening in Kaithal, Haryana.

“It has been a tradition for him,” an aide told ThePrint. “People visit him the morning to wish him and he likes to be there for them.”

Also read: Cult of Modi, birth of Kejriwal, fall of Congress — 10 milestones of the decade in politics

Sisodia’s party and Akhilesh’s rally

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal celebrated the New Year’s Eve at a musical evening in Lodhi Colony. He spent some time with singer Palash Sen following which he also showed up at Sisodia’s party for a short while. He spent the rest of the evening with family.

Manish Sisodia’s house party was attended by people from the Aam Aadmi Party and his close friends and family.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav flagged off a cycle rally in Lucknow on 31 December, where the slogan “NRC nahi, rozgaar chahiye (Not NRC, we want jobs)” resounded through the streets. He had no special plans for the evening, and clocked in the New Year with family.

Modi’s ministers

Following the BJP playbook, Union minister Nitin Gadkari hosted a dinner for his close friends and family in his constituency Nagpur, an aide told ThePrint.

His colleague, Harsh Vardhan spent the evening with his family in New Delhi. “He did a puja at home in the evening,” said one of his personal staffers.

Other BJP ministers, including Ravi Shanker Prasad and Mukhtar Abbbas Naqvi, spent the evening at home. Prahlad Patel was in Nepal for a conference.

(With inputs from Moushumi Das Gupta, Aneesha Bedi & Prashant Srivastava)

Also read: Sanjay Raut, Praful Patel, TR Baalu — men wielding power in Delhi for their regional bosses


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