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Posted at: Mar 4, 2018, 12:54 AM; last updated: Mar 4, 2018, 12:54 AM (IST)

Rahul Gandhi away as Congress braves jolts

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 3

Congress president Rahul Gandhi is away as his party braved setbacks in Tripura and Nagaland and struggled to find numbers to form a government in Meghalaya despite emerging as the single largest party today.

There was no fresh message on Rahul’s twitter timeline where the last one he posted read: “My Nani is 93. She’s the kindest soul ever. This Holi weekend I’m going to surprise her. I can’t wait to give her a hug. Happy Holi to all. Have a joyful celebration.”

Back in Delhi, the party rushed veterans Ahmed Patel and Kamal Nath to Shillong to save the people’s mandate in favour of the Congress that emerged as the single largest party. The outcome of early parleys wasn’t clear with party insiders acknowledging that the road ahead in Meghalaya was tough given BJP’s machinations with the NPP and Independents to try and form a government even with just two seats in the saffron kitty.

Patel and Kamal Nath have been handed a brief to go all out to ensure the numbers in the Meghalaya Assembly and to avoid the blunders Congress committed in Goa.

In Tripura the Congress clearly didn’t play to win and was seen to be lying low to aid the CPM, something the BJP openly said in its campaign and something that seemed to resonate. Rahul campaigned in Left-ruled Tripura only once. That didn’t help the morale of cadres.

In Nagaland also the Congress was seen playing on extremely weak wicket and party’s own observers ahead of results had predicted a duck. And duck it was with Gandhi not campaigning there at all.

The only state Gandhi was visibly touched during electioneering was Meghalaya where the Congress got some results though not enough to form a government on its own. Rahul is expected to return tomorrow.

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