Tea stall owner Dinesh Chandra Madhesia couldn’t stop smiling on Sunday.
His special guest Rahul Gandhi’s surprise visit made his day. Still, he had a tinge of regret. Had he known in advance that the Congress vice-president would stop by at his tea point in Mau district during his kisan yatra, Madhesia said he would have prepared the best samosas to mark the occasion.
Nonetheless, he offered the Amethi MP a cup of tea, samosa and jalebi, all of which the Congress vice-president accepted. Thanking Madhesia, he offered him a Rs 500 note.
Some saw the tea stall stopover as an apparent effort to counter Narendra Modi’s projection of himself as a chaiwala (tea vendor) who has gone on to become the Prime Minister.
Rahul got off the kisan rath at Atrari Chungi in Mohammdabad Gohna, went up to Madhesia and shook hands with him.
A few questions by the Amethi MP followed.
“How are you bhaiyya? What about your children? Where do they study? Will you offer me a cup of tea,” Rahul Gandhi asked.
He also asked whether there was any change in Madhesia’s life after the Modi government came to power.
In reply to the questions, Madhesia said that his children studied in a local school and he did not see any major change in his life in the past two years.
While Rahul held a discussion with Madhesia, others looked on silently. Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and many others enjoyed the tea, samosas and jalebis.
Madhesia, who was delighted to have the VVIP visitor, later said: “He embraced (hugged) me. He gave me a pat on the back. I am thrilled. I am thankful to Rahul Gandhi.”
“No national leader ever stopped at my tea stall before. Rahulji is the first one who stopped here and expressed so much affection,” he added.