New Delhi: As Congress President Sonia Gandhi turned 67 on Monday, the usually buzzing party office on Akbar Road and her 10 Janpath Road residence bore a deserted look with hardly any kind of celebrations that are seen every year.
The area outside the party office and her residence had more mediapersons and policemen than visitors and supporters.
Yesterday, the party said that Gandhi will not be celebrating her birthday in view of the demise of Nelson Mandela. The country is observing a five-day state mourning since Friday as a mark of respect to the late South African leader. Party sources insisted that the decision was not linked to the assembly election results.
Brijalal Thakur (51), a Badarpur resident, who has been selling accessories like Congress flags, badges, scarfs, muffler, diaries and directories outside the party office and Gandhi`s residence, however, held the party`s defeat as reason for non-celebrations and his low business.
Until noon, he said he was able to sell only two directories, of which one was of Congress while other was a government directory.
"There were no people today. The place is usually buzzing on Sonia Gandhi`s birthday, but today it is deserted. Party haar gayi na, iskeliye (the party`s defeat is the reason)," Thakur said.
Even Durga Prasad (40), a resident of Khajuri and a self-confessed die-hard Congress supporter who has been selling party accessories outside its office for his livelihood since 2001 said, "Whenever, the party does good, we are able to sell off things, but if results are like yesterdays then we have a bad day."
Prasad said that on Gandhi`s last birthday, he managed to sell party accessories worth Rs 4000 until evening, but today he earned just Rs 100 till noon.
Police had anticipated more people on Gandhi`s birthday and deployed a few more men keeping in view the security arrangement.
"There was a less turnout of people today," said a policeman posted outside the party office.
But there were some supporters who had come to greet `Madam` with flowers, sweets and bouquets.
"We have come from Tamil Nadu and we want to meet Madam on her birthday. Can you allow us to go inside for a few minutes," Shyam Munuswamy, party worker from Chennai was heard pleading to the policemen.
He had come to party office with four others to greet Gandhi.