Mumbai: The Congress in Mumbai made sure the city knew Rahul Gandhi was dropping in - posters of the new Vice-President of the party were on unfettered display. But on Twitter, Mr Gandhi's welcome was chilly because his VIP convoy blocked traffic during morning rush hour.
Mr Suhel Seth of Counselage India tweeted, "Has this country lost it??? Roads from the airport Bombay closed owing to Rahul Gandhi's arrival so what's that crap about 'aam aadmi??" Mr Seth later said, "India has changed and people find such acts of VIP culture revolting. What if there was an emergency and someone was stuck because of the convoy?"
A tweet from Vidyut said, "Diyar Rahul Gandhi & Congress, your wisdom is infinite, but blocking roads in a always hurried Mumbai doesn't win voters & influence people." Another from @aurbolo, warned, "If you see traffic being halted in Mumbai today, chances are Rahul Gandhi convoy is getting a preference over you. Enjoy the heat."
Mr Gandhi landed in Mumbai in the middle of peak workday traffic. Exiting from the VIP gate at Kalina at around 9 in the morning and taking the Western Express flyover, the convoy zoomed on the Bandra-Worli Sealink before arriving in less than half an hour at the Congress headquarters in Tilak Bhavan in Central Mumbai's Dadar.
To allow Mr Gandhi to speed to his meeting, security agencies kept other vehicular movements on hold for eight minutes. This led to severe traffic jams on the already congested Western Express Highway and also bottlenecks at the Worli Sealink. These roads are packed during rush hour and the police say it could not risk Mr Gandhi's security by allowing his convoy to navigate traffic.
The Congress spokesperson in Mumbai Sachin Sawant said, " I am not aware of traffic jams because of Mr Gandhi's visit not have I seen the tweets. But Mr. Rahul Gandhi was himself concerned that his visit should not affect normal life"
However, even the narrow lane that houses Tilak Bhavan, where Mr Gandhi met congress workers in a series of meetings, was also closed. The police finally allowed traffic movement on it at around 2 pm after people's resentment on Twitter.
The outrage on social media comes days after the Supreme Court frowned at India's excessive VIP security culture asking, why should cars with red lights get precedence over others?