Rahul prefers to party as Kerala mourns its dead January 17, 2011 2:51:32 PM VR Jayaraj | Idukki Protest is fuming among Congress leaders and workers of Kerala against Rahul Gandhi for not visiting the site of the stampede at Pullumedu in Idukki district in which 102 Sabarimala pilgrims died despite the fact that he was staying at a place less than 200 km away from there when the disaster occurred on Friday night. Rahul Gandhi had spent entire Saturday at Ambalappuzha, a temple town in Alappuzha district, attending a marriage function and at Kumarakom, where he savored Keralaâ€™s ethnic cuisine and enjoyed flute and Ghazal concerts at a tourist resort. He had arrived in Kerala on Friday evening. The allegation is that Rahul failed to visit the disaster site or the place where the bodies were taken to even when he was staying at a nearby place while all top political leaders, including octogenarian Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan and septuagenarian Opposition leader Oommen Chandy were there leading the rescue and relief operations. Finally, Rahul Gandhi decided to fly to Vandipperiyar, the town nearest to the accident site on Sunday morning reportedly following the insistence of PCC leaders including its president Ramesh Chennithala, allegedly with the hope of getting the entire media focus on him, but he could not land there due to bad weather. â€œI am ashamed to say this but Rahulâ€™s behaviour was not something the people expected from Congress leaders. He should have rushed to Idukki from Alappuzha on Saturday morning itself,â€ said a Congress leader from Idukki district, who had spent the whole of Friday night and Saturday in relief work.. â€œHe should have understood the seriousness of the situation. This was a national disaster. We have heard of Nero, who played fiddle when Rome burned. Rahulâ€™s only difference is that he was enjoying flute instead of playing fiddle when 102 pilgrims were lying dead just a couple of kilometers away,â€ he fumed. A section of Congressmen in Idukki expressed the suspicion that Rahul Gandhi had decided not to land at Vandipperiyar not because of fog and rain but after he was convinced that no activity related to the tragedy was going on there. â€œEven the last of the injured had left the place. Then why should he land there?â€ asked the leader from Idukki. Congress leaders at Vandipperiyar and Kumily, where the autopsy on the bodies of the victims were done, said there was no excuse for Rahul Gandhiâ€™s absence at the accident site. Also, they were not prepared to accept the argument that he had been in Kerala on a private visit. â€œHe had come for a marriage which was over by Saturday morning itself. I think even the people at the marriage would have praised him if he had cancelled that programme and rushed to Idukki to lead the relief works. Then he had enjoyed the whole day sightseeing and in the evening he was partying at a resort at Kumarakom. Simply, this is not Congress culture,â€ said a Congress leader.