A call for prayer at a mosque today made Rahul Gandhi to halt his speech for around five minutes, even as anxious party colleagues looked on fearing that the Congress Vice President might run out of time on the last day of campaigning here.
Gandhi arrived at the Anglo Bengali College Ground of the city around 4.30 PM, barely one and a half hour before the end of campaigning for the penultimate phase of the Lok Sabha elections.
After receiving a warm welcome from party supporters and senior leaders like AICC General Secretary Madhusudan Mistry and candidates for Allahabad, Phulpur and Kaushambi, Nand Gopal Gupta, Mohd Kaif and Mahendra Gautam, respectively, Gandhi began his speech recalling his family's long association with the city dating back to the days of Jawaharlal Nehru.
But then around 5 PM, the loudspeaker of a mosque situated adjacent to the venue of the rally sounded the muezzin's call. On hearing the call, Gandhi stopped his speech, promptly stepped aside and stood with his head bowed deferentially.
After the muezzin ended his call, Gandhi returned in front of the mike to resume his speech and was greeted by a huge round of applause.
During his speech that lasted for nearly 35 minutes, Gandhi spoke in a conversational tone, and shedding his usual gravitas, he regaled the crowds with humorous remarks.
In a further bid to strike a chord with the people, Rahul broke the security cordon to shake hands with supporters before departing.