Lucknow: Countering Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Chai pe Charcha’, Congressmen coined the new ‘Chane pe Charcha’ in Amethi as party vice president Rahul Gandhi interacted with party workers over ‘laiyya-chana’ – a staple snack in this part of Uttar Pradesh.

Gandhi, who arrived in his parliamentary constituency late on Wednesday, interacted with party workers on Thursday and visited the homes of some party loyalists to express his condolences on death of their near and dear ones. Maintaining distance from the media following him, he refused to comment on any issue, including the developments in neighbouring Uttarakhand where the high court struck down president’s rule and restored the Congress government.

Later in the day, Gandhi visited the district party office and held parleys with them on various issues and local problems. It was after a gap of two years that such a meeting was held at the district HQ, a leader told IANS. The last time a meeting of this sort took place was after the 2014 Lok Sabha debacle.

Party leaders, while circumspect about the party’s future in the state, however conceded that Gandhi had become more accessible than before and gave them a patient hearing. He will also spend Friday in Amethi where he has a string of engagements.

On the same day, election strategist Prashant Kishore, lined up to revive party’s fortunes, held a meeting with office bearers of various frontal organizations in the state capital.