The day belonged to the Metro Man. The general public showered heaps of thunderous applause on E Sreedharanevery time his name came up in a speech or his visage appeared as part of the live telecast on the several screens that were placed in different points for the audience.
It started well before the formal function of Kochi Metro inauguration.
When the first visual of Sreedharan flashed on the screens as he boarded the train with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the audience broke into an applause. It was just a starter.
Dressed in white shirt and marked by sandalwood vermillion on his forehead, Sreedharan was the epitome of composure and received the display of hero worship with humility .
When KMRL MD Elias George in his presiding speech acknowledged the lead role played by Sreedharan in success of Kochi Metro, the clapping was non-stop. Even as he tried to continue with the speech, the applause continued forcing him to pause till it died down.
There was no person on or off the stage who received as much applause as the Metro Man.
The adulation assumes importance in the wake of a controversy over omission of his name from the list of dignitaries, who were to share the stage with the Prime Minister.
While Sreedharan had responded saying: “I have no issues. Since I am a worker here, there is no need for an invitation,” Kerala chief minister wrote to the Prime Minister’s office asking it to allow Sreedharan to be on stage with Modi.