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Another surprise stop for Rahul

Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi interacted with tribals and got a first-hand account of the progress of various welfare programmes, reports Ejaz Kaiser.

india Updated: Apr 26, 2008 01:59 IST
Ejaz Kaiser

Beginning His maiden visit to Chhattisgarh from Ambikapur district on Friday, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi interacted with tribals and got a first-hand account of the progress of various welfare programmes.

As expected, he made a surprise halt at village Lahaiga. Leaving behind his security men and accompanied only by his driver and a commando, he entered the hut of Ramlal, a tribal, and spent time with his family for more than an hour.

Rahul inquired from Ramlal whether he or his family knew him, Rajiv Gandhi or Indira Gandhi. The Congress MP enquired about the availability of power, irrigation facilities and other local issues.

During the course of conversation he relished herbal black tea that was offered to him by Ramlal's family.

Rahul, who reached Ambikapur, was accorded a warm welcome. The long convoy of vehicles in scorching heat left the rural tribals awestruck, as they had never heard Rahul's name before. Organised by the Congress leaders, a few tribals danced to the traditional 'mandar' and 'dhol' welcoming the Congress general secretary.

Rahul, however, was displeased with the Youth Congress and NSUI members who were shouting slogans for him. He told him that he will not light the lamp in front of his father’s portrait unless they stopped shouting slogans.

Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh, who was at Madanpur in the adjoining Korba district under his much-publicised 10-day Gram Suraj Abhiyan said, “Always being among tribals helps knowing them, rather than holding road shows.”

Singh on Friday refuted charges that the State government was reluctant to provide security to Rahul in Dantewada. “Rahul is welcome to spend a week in Dantewada and our police will safeguard him,” he said.