A VVIP travelling 2nd class by train? Unheard of in these times. But that’s exactly what Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi did 10 days ago.
He boarded the bi-weekly Gorakhpur-Mumbai Express from Gorakhpur station on October 18, UP Congress sources said though the party spokesperson in New Delhi had no comment on the matter.
UP Congress sources said Gandhi decided to travel second class on the train because he wanted to mingle with ordinary people from eastern UP’s Poorvanchal region and Bihar, from where migrants travel to their dream city, Mumbai, in search of livelihoods.
Gandhi also wanted to gain first-hand knowledge of the problems that drive people away from their homes. And he instantly struck a chord with commuters by his very presence in a coach that VVIPs usually avoid like the plague.
His decision could not have been motivated by a desire to gain publicity as it was a top-secret mission. Neither the state police nor UP Congress leaders knew about his travel plans.
"A special plane carrying Rahul Gandhi touched down at Gorakhpur airport around 8 pm on October 18,” a top police officer told HT on Thursday. SPG personnel received him at the tarmac and escorted him to a taxi outside the airport.”.
As soon as the UP Police got wind of his arrival at the Gorakhpur airport, the local police tried to track him down. But they couldn’t.
Initially, the police thought he had gone to Bihar for campaigning but wondered why they were not informed, considering he is a VVIP. This spurred them to intensify the search but all they achieved was tracking down the taxi driver who dropped Gandhi at the railway station.
Gorakhpur deputy inspector general of police Asim Arun said, “When we contacted the SPG, they told us we need not worry as Gandhi had already left our area.”