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When PM, Sonia gave villagers an 'identity'

Last updated on: September 29, 2010 20:43 IST

When PM, Sonia gave villagers an 'identity'

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Prasanna D Zore and Uttam Ghosh travel to Tembhali village, in Maharashtra's Nandurbar district, where Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi initiated the process of distributing the much talked about Unique Identification Number to villagers.

It was almost 12 minutes past noon on Wednesday when Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi along with their cavalcade entered Tembhali's health care centre. Going by VVIP standards, a delay of 12 minutes was miniscule.

For a change, Dr Singh dressed in a spotless white kurta and salwar waved, Sonia Gandhi-like, at the crowd from inside his bullet proof Tata Safari. The Congress president sat next to him, dressed impeccably in a cream sari with maroon motifs.

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Image: PM Dr Singh gets out of his bulletproof Tata Safari to visit a health centre in Tembhali village
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
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When PM, Sonia gave villagers an 'identity'

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Both got down from their respective doors and entered the health centre waving at 200-odd people who were herded behind a barricade. Earlier, the district police had invested all security arrangements with the Special Protection Group and the latter were making no efforts to make it less visible.

"Sonia Gandhi Zindabad, Sonia Gandhi Zindabad," the crowd raved in unison as she stepped out.


Image: Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Dr Singh head towards the health centre in Tembhali
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
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When PM, Sonia gave villagers an 'identity'

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These VVIPs were then followed by Maharshtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal, finance minister Jayant Patil and Unique Identity Authority of India chief Nandan Nilekani.

All the dignitaries came out of the tin-roofed, freshly-painted 150 sq ft room at around 12.46 pm, with beads of sweat clearly visible on their foreheads, once they were through with their power-point presentation on UID enrollment process.


Image: UIDAI chief Nandan Nilekani (right) and Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia (left) enter the health centre
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
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When PM, Sonia gave villagers an 'identity'

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Later, Ashok Chavan addressed the crowd dispersed across two different sections about how they will benefit with their unique identity numbers. In less than 15 minutes, the entire cavalcade set for the Satpuda Sugar Factory, 3 km from Tembhali, where they were to distribute UIDs to 10 Tembhali villagers at a public meeting.

"The people of Maharshtra are lucky. They have got the honour of being the first ones to get their UIDs," Sonia Gandhi said addressing a 50,000 to 75,000 strong gathering. Her statement was greeted with loud applause.


Image: Maharashtra CM Ashok Chavan speaks to PM Dr Singh before the rally
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
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When PM, Sonia gave villagers an 'identity'

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Earlier, Dr Singh and Sonia Gandhi gave UIDs to Padvi Tarachand Rumal, Thakare Anil Ganesh, Kureshi Arman Shekh Munir, Mali Bhuri Rohidas, Sonawane Ranjna Sadashiv, Sonwane Hitesh Sadashiv, Kantibai Nabu Nigude, Thakare Jalubai Shivdas, Ratan ShivaWagh and Mali Devidas Bhairas amid a huge applause.

The Congress president assured the crowd that with UIDs their exploitation at the hands of middlemen and brokers would come to an end.

 "The nation will benefit because of the UID project," Dr Singh said addressing the rally after Sonia Gandhi. He thanked everybody involved in this mammoth exercise, including the people who enrolled for the process, for their co-operation in making this project a success.

 


Image: 50,000-75,000 people turned up for the rally
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
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When PM, Sonia gave villagers an 'identity'

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When everything was going around as planned, a group of protesters shouted slogans from the rear end demanding 50 per cent reservations for the Marathas in Maharashtra, waving saffron flags. They were, however, not allowed to venture anywhere close to the media gallery by alert policement.

However, they raised slogans after the rally ended after the VVIP dignitaries had left the huge ground on the premises of the sugar factory.

 "We wanted to protest in front of Maharashtra CM Ashok Chavan," said Sharad Pawar, a youngster who was leading the protest.


Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
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Interestingly, the event ended on a lighter note with the Congress president Sonia Gandhi asking Dr Singh to wave at the crowds, and the latter asking Sonia Gandhi to do the same.

In the end, both of them waved together and headed for the busy environs of New Delhi where they will perhaps take stock of the security preparation on the eve of the Ayodhya verdict on September 30.


Image: PM Dr Singh and Sonia Gandhi wave to the crowd after addressing the rally near Tembhali
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
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