For the fourth time in 24 years, Congress leader Sonia Gandhi will visit Mumbai on Thursday to participate in the two-day Indian National Opposition Conclave.
She will be greeted by prominent party figures like Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, State Chief Nana Patole, and other senior state and national bureaucrats while being accompanied by her son as well as MP Rahul Gandhi.
High-level party insiders described it as “a very exciting and significant occasion” for the state unit because this will be Sonia Gandhi’s first trip to Mumbai in almost a decade and just her fourth trip to the nation’s commercial metropolis overall.
Despite her deteriorating health, she has visited various regions of Maharashtra numerous times over the past more than three decades in order to closely follow the state’s politics, according to a top leader who asked to remain anonymous.
By coincidence, the Congress was in office in Maharashtra throughout all of her previous visits, working in coalition with the Nationalist Congress Party.
However, her party would be travelling with the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance.
Sonia Gandhi paid a visit to the victims of the terrible hillslide disaster that rocked Ghatkopar’s Azad Nagar slums after torrential rains on July 15, 2000.
Over 80 slum dwellers lost their lives as a result of the disaster, and many of them were buried next to their shanties.
The late Vilasrao Deshmukh, the previous chief minister, and other prominent figures had travelled to the tragedy site with Sonia Gandhi to assess it. She met the victims at the municipally administered Rajawadi Hospital and gave them compensation.
A joyous event marked her second journey to Mumbai on July 30, 2009, as the nation’s first cable-stayed Bandra Worli Sea Link, which bears her late husband and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi’s name, was officially opened.
At the spectacular event to launch the RGBWSL, a crucial north-south route that has drastically reduced commuting times, she was surrounded by the then Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and other prominent dignitaries.
The RGBWSL is now being expanded to the north and south in order to relieve traffic and speed up commute times between south Mumbai and the northern suburbs.
The third time Sonia Gandhi visited Mumbai, it was for the funeral of Murli S. Deora, a longtime party member and former Union Minister, who passed away on November 24, 2014.
Deora’s passing had undoubtedly brought the party to its knees, and in addition to Sonia Gandhi, many other prominent figures from around the nation had come to pay their respects that day.
Deora’s farewell journey included the then-chief minister, Prithviraj Chavan, members of the Ambani family and other corporate titans, political leaders from various parties, and thousands of supporters.
Over 100 representatives of the nation’s 28 opposition political organisations will be attending the India Conclave, which is being hosted by MVA ally and former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray of the Shiv Sena (UBT). It is regarded as Mumbai’s largest political activity of its sort.
Sonia and Rahul are going to engage in the discussions and brainstorming sessions held here, which are anticipated to set the tone for the impending 2024 Lok Sabha elections, in which an assertive India aims to unseat the BJP.