Six hrs in MP: Rahul makes a promise, some conversation | india | Hindustan Times
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Six hrs in MP: Rahul makes a promise, some conversation

Rahul also quizzed people about the effectiveness of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, reports Punya Priya Mitra.

india Updated: Apr 29, 2008 02:22 IST
Punya Priya Mitra

Rahul Gandhi wrapped up his three-day visit to Madhya Pradesh on Monday with an unscheduled whirlwind tour of villages in tribal district Jhabua.

People fell over each other to touch him, get photographed with him, and Rahul obliged all, with a ready smile.

He spoke to tribals, asked them how they lived and their means of livelihood. He often put his arms around them or quietly slapped their backs to strike up an instant camaraderie. The tribals spoke about their problems and the AICC general secretary assured them of all help from the Centre.

Rahul’s secret programme was known only to PCC president Suresh Pachauri and AICC secretary Minaxi Natarajan till his chopper landed at Jhabua around 10.40 am. His cavalcade’s first halt was at Christian-dominated tribal village Raipuria.

Here, Bercharam, a local, invited him home for tea. But Rahul refused with grace, asking: “Why? Is tea at the hotel bad?” And, along with others, he sat on the rickety benches of Bharti Restaurant. When he gave Rs 100 for the cups of tea they had, the boy impishly refused. But, Pachauri cajoled him to accept it as gift.

Two kilometers away, Rahul stopped at Sagaria village, where he went to the mud houses of Dhanna, Prem Singh, Ambaram, Heera, Somla and Hari Singh.

Dhanna said Rahul asked him about the crop he had sown. “I told him that I had sown tomato and while I had invested Rs 15,000, I only recovered Rs 10,000. At this, he told me that my loan would be waived,” said Dhanna.

Ambaram said: “I told him about the method of farming, and he nodded his head. He knew a lot of agriculture”.

Rahul also quizzed people about the effectiveness of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. “Most of us told him that water and electricity were the major problems in the area,” said Hari Singh.

From there he went to Sampark where he checked the solar power plant that meets the village’s power needs.

The next halt was Unnai Churchat Petlawad. Here he spoke to two school students and asked them if they wanted to study in Delhi. Too shy to answer, they looked at their parents who said: “Why not, if someone pays for it”. Rahul immediately offered to sponsor them.

From there on it was a mini-road show through Petwalad, Thandla, Meghnagar then to Jhabua. From there, he flew to Ratlam in a helicopter at 4.40 pm.