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Kerala: Rahul Gandhi debuts as snakeboat oarsman | Kochi News – Times of India

Kerala: Rahul Gandhi debuts as snakeboat oarsman | Kochi News – Times of India

KOTTAYAM: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi debuted as an oarsman of the famed snakeboats in Kerala as the snakeboat rowed by him on Monday won an exhibition race in Punnamada lake in Alappuzha, where the famous Nehru Trophy Boat Race is held annually.
The exhibition race was held after Rahul expressed his wish to witness the race which had once thrilled his great-grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru. It was after a trip to Kuttanad in a houseboat during his Bharat Jodo Yatra that Rahul participated in the exhibition race. The race, which included three snakeboats, began at 3.50pm.

Rahul removed his shoe before entering the snakeboat – Naduvileparamban, rowed by the oarsmen of the NCDC boat club, Kumarakom. AICC general secretary KC Venugopal also accompanied Rahul in the snakeboat. Rahul rowed the boat in accordance with the rhythm of the ‘vanchippattu’, and his boat finished much ahead of Aanari Chundan, which came second and Vellamkulangara, which finished third.
“When we all work together in perfect harmony, there is nothing we cannot accomplish,” Rahul tweeted after the race.

Snakeboat race

The first snakeboat race in Kuttanad was reportedly an impromptu one in 1952, held to honour the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. He chanced a trip from Kottayam by boat to Alappuzha, where he was given a rousing reception with snakeboats. A race was held, and Nehru was so thrilled that he jumped into the winning snakeboat forgetting all security arrangements.
On his return to Delhi, Nehru donated a silver trophy, a replica of a snakeboat placed on a wooden abacus. The Nehru Trophy has since been the Kuttanad snakeboat races’ most coveted prize.
Rahul also interacted with the representatives from the tourism industry and discussed issues and opportunities in the sector. Earlier, he began the day interacting with fisherfolk, listening to their issues. They shared various issues like rising fuel prices, dwindling fish stock, lack of social welfare policies and education opportunities with Rahul.

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