Undaunted by chief minister Mayawati’s past criticism, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi paid a surprise visit to Uttar Pradesh again.
And on Wednesday, he once more spent a night at the house of a Dalit in Tilhar village of Shravasti district, 150 km east of Lucknow.
The Congress MP reached Tilhar at about 10 pm. No one recognised him at first. He had to introduce himself.
“Finally a 20-year-old youth, Babadin, recognised him,” said Bajrangi Lal (25), a Tilhar resident.
Gandhi’s host, village pradhan Jarwarsi (55), was overwhelmed. Her son, Chhedi Ram Pasi, said, “We were delighted to see Rahul.”
For dinner, Gandhi had three puris with a vegetable dish.
Pasi said the MP refused to use a mosquito net and slept in the open on a charpai (rope cot) since there was no power supply indoors.
In the morning, he bathed drawing water from a handpump. He then went on a tour of the village fields.
The Mayawati government was not amused.
“We didn’t receive any information about his tour programme,” said UP home secretary Mahesh Kumar Gupta. “We’ll write to the Centre keeping in view Rahul’s security concerns.”
Mayawati had called Gandhi’s earlier trips to Dalit homes a “drama”.