Jubiliation rent the air outside Pranab Mukherjee’s 13, Talkatora Residence here as Congress workers danced, burst crackers and distributed sweets to celeberate his victory in the presidential elections.
The mood was upbeat since morning due to expected victory of the United Progressive Alliance’s (UPA) presidential candidate.
A large number of workers, some from his native West Bengal, came to Mukherjee’s residence to give expression to their sense of joy on his elevation.
Cheering and bursting into ocassional dance, they raised slogans hailing Mukherjee and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Many of them had bouquets of flowers, boxes of sweets and crackers.
“‘Dada’ loves Bengali sweets. So I have brought lots of ‘rosogollas’ and ‘chamchams’,” said Congress worker Anil Biswas.
As Mukherjee’s votes neared the half-way mark signalling his formal victory, a party worker arrived with big cut-outs hailing Sonia Gandhi for choosing Mukherjee as the UPA candidate.
While leaders including union ministers went to greet Mukherjee inside his house, party workers celeberated outside. Some of them hoped he would come out of the house later.
Mahendra Kumar Dhanak, a bandmaster, who came from Meerut along with his band in anticipation of Mukherjee’s victory, said he was feeling elated.
“I know Dada will win. But today is not the day I will attempt to meet him,” Dhanak told IANS.
Among the first to meet Mukherjee was Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.
“He (Mukherjee) will surely be missed (as the party’s trouble-shooter) by the Congress and the UPA as well as the nation,” Gehlot told reporters.
Agreed Congress leader Ajit Jogi: “Wherever he (Mukherjee) goes, he leaves his mark and the post of president will be no different.”
All India Congress Committee member Gurmeet Singh Sethi, who bears a resemblance with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in looks, style and mannerisms, caused a flutter yet again among security personnel.
Though no one was allowed to enter the bungalow without a thorough check, Singh casually strolled inside as perplexed security personnel looked on. Later, he mingled with workers outside.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi, Defence Minister A. K. Antony, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and DMK leader T. R. Baalu were among those who greeted Mukherjee.
West Bengal Irrigation Minister Manas Bhuiyan said Mukherjee was an outstanding personality and it was a proud moment that he will become president.
Congress MP Jagdambika Pal said that victory margin of Mukherjee’s victory had exposed chinks in National Democratic Alliance.
“NDA plan has backfired,” he said.
Linking Mukherjee’s victory to the party’s future electoral prospects, he said the people’s support was with UPA.