New Delhi: On a day he would have loved to be in Jalandhar to celebrate the Aam Aadmi Party’s return to the Lok Sabha via the byelection caused by its former Congress MP’s death, Raghav Chadha got engaged to Bollywood actress Parineeti Chopra, better known as the sister of Priyanka Chopra Jonas.
It was a hot Saturday afternoon, yet the normally somnolent Kapurthala House — once the sprawling Delhi home of Kapurthala’s Maharaja Paramjit Singh and now the official residence of Punjab’s Governor and Chief Minister whenever they’re in Delhi — was a beehive of activity.
Photographers and videographers jostled for the right angles, shouted out requests to the arriving guests to pose for pictures and excitedly exchanging names, workmen walked in with last-minute deliverables, the evening’s granthi sauntered in, and Bollywood favourite designer Manish Malhotra darted in and out with Parineeti’s dress for the occasion before returning to formally join the party.
For the paparazzi who were waiting for a rush of Bollywood and political celebrities, the action started only after the evening descended on this quieter part of Lutyens’s Delhi just across the road from the Taj Mahal Hotel. Earlier in the evening, the two families did keep it a low-key affair meant for loved ones and close friends.
Priyanka, who was with her sister at The Lodhi hotel after flying in from Mumbai in the morning, zipped in, flashing a victory sign from her car.
Before she arrived, Chadha’s seniors in the Rajya Sabha, both representing West Bengal in the Upper House — ace Supreme Court advocate and Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi with wife, ghazal and Sufi singer Anita Singhvi, and Derek O’Brien, also with wife, Dr Tonuca Basu — walked in and happily posed for the photographers. Singhvi, who even showed the paper bag in which he was carrying a gift for a couple.
Then came the political bigwigs — Punjab Chief MInister Bhagwant Mann flaunting his trademark yellow turban and ever-ready smile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal with his wife, Sunita Kejriwal, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader and Uddhav Thackeray’s son, Aditya Thackeray, and former finance minister and Congress Rajya Sabha MP, P. Chidambaram, straight off his television appearances post the party’s victory in Karnataka.
On a day when the Karnataka election results were consuming the mindspace of the nation, these politicians were taking a well-deserved break, though, without doubt, their conversation must all have been about the changing political narrative.