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Rahul pays surprise visit to Dalit village

Unfazed by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati's vitriolic remarks, Congress General Secretary and Lok Sabha MP Rahul Gandhi visited a Dalit basti here. SA Rizvi reports.

india Updated: May 18, 2008 00:14 IST
SA Rizvi

Unfazed by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati's vitriolic remarks, Congress General Secretary and Lok Sabha MP Rahul Gandhi visited a Dalit basti here.

Gandhi, on a two-day visit to his parliamentary constituency, was inquiring about the status of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) with the dalits in the village, paid a surprise visit to Ban Purva Gaderi village late on Friday night and interacted with villagers for over two hours. He also dined at a Dalit’s house.

Meanwhile, the Bunpurwa village pradhan refused to meet Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday night. On being told about irregularities in the allotment of work under the UPA-sponsored scheme, Rahul “summoned” the pradhan of the village on Friday to have a first hand account of the scheme, but the messenger is reported to have returned with reply that the pradhan was “not at home.” But sources said that the pradhan refused to meet Rahul Gandhi.

Again taking the SPG security cover by surprise, the Congress leader drove at random and landed at village Bunpurwa under Sangrampur block. The villagers were caught unawares. They were waiting for an NREGS instructor from Hyderabad, instead Rahul Gandhi appeared before them. The villagers were taken by surprise by the blaring horns of Rahul Gandhi’s convoy, which arrived at 11 pm on Friday night. The young MP requested two villagers, Lakhpati and Sumitra, for dinner after which the entire village rushed to welcome him. The surprised lot of 150 women welcomed the Congress leader. They offered Rahul a seat; instead the Congress leader chose to sit on the floor. Gandhi started inquiring about the ambitious schemes including — NREGS and health education.

Sumitra later told reporters that while the dinner was being prepared, Gandhi interacted with the villagers in the ‘chaupal'’inquiring about their problems. He received a number of complaints from villagers. Amarati Saroj complained about irregular supply of kerosene oil as a result of which the studies of children were being hampered, while Purvin told Rahul that she was not getting pension after the death of his husband. He visited the paralytic septuagenarian Gajdhar Saroj and inquired about his health.

He told the womenfolk to work unitedly for their progress saying the real power of the country rested with them. He assured Draupdi, Puja Manshavati and Roshni, all suffering from some ailments, of all possible help.

On wishing to have dinner in chaste Hindi “Khana Khilaogi Kyan”, he was served food on Pattal — Puri, sabji, dal, chawal and salad. After having his dinner, Gandhi rested for some time before departing at around 1.30 am.

During his earlier tours also, the Nehru-Gandhi family scion had paid similar surprise visits to villages and dined there. On Saturday morning about 400 persons met Rahul Gandhi and heard their grievances. Her then left for Jais and there he participated in the “Samuh” meeting.
With PTI inputs