Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday tried to strike a chord with the people of Amethi and Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh with an emotional “Rahul will be back soon, I am here on his behalf,” in reply to a query about his long absence.
She was on a brief visit to Uttar Pradesh to take stock of the crop damage in the recent hailstorm and share her grief with the families which had lost members in the train tragedy near Bachhrawan in her Lok Sabha constituency Rae Bareli. About 12 people from Amethi region had died in the accident.
Earlier this week, posters declaring local MP Rahul Gandhi “missing” were posted at railway station, markets and bus stand in Amethi, urging people to launch a manhunt to find him.
Replying to a question about Rahul’s absence, she said, “Rahul, Priyanka or me… it does not matter. Amethi and Rae Bareli are our family, our constituencies. I have been working here since the 80s. So, it does not make a difference, it’s Rahul, me or whoever.”
Before winding up her tour to the two cities, Sonia went from village to village and heard people’s complaints, aspirations and enquired about their financial condition too.
She admitted that the crop damage had been extensive and said, “I think they will get something (compensation) soon.” They (Uttar Pradesh government) have carried out survey (about the damage). But I think this has not been done properly to ensure right compensation.”
The villagers specially talked about Rahul Gandhi’s unfulfilled promise of turning Tendua village into a railway halt, besides other pending works and urged her to get them completed.
They said, “We had no complaints against Rahul Gandhi. But we are now upset with him and somebody should ask him why this (rail project) has been delayed,” said Abdul Mazid, who led a group of about 100 students of Madarsa Musalimin at Tendua village.