Bimlesh Devi, a 43-year-old widow and mother of five daughters, travelled 8 km on foot to reach Rahul Gandhi’s Khat Sabha in Kemri, Rampur on Wednesday. “My husband passed away four years ago, I am concerned about my daughters who are nearing the age of marriage. I am here to ask for a job and I hope Rahul ji will do something for me,” she said.
Like her, it was sheer hope that brought people from diverse backgrounds to the recent Khat Sabhas of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in Bareilly region.
Shivank Dubey, 25, a commerce graduate who attended the Khat Sabha at Powayan Inter college in Shahjahanpur on Tuesday, said, “I want to study further but my family cannot support me. Rahul ji is a young leader and he will do something for me.”
Both Bimlesh and Shivank couldn’t meet Rahul as they were sidelined for “genuine farmers” who, in many cases, were brought by local Congress leaders.
“I have a bank debt of Rs 3 lakh on four acres of land. I am ready to vote for any party which is ready to cancel my debt,” said Shakkar Singh, 58, a sugarcane farmer of Devrikhurd in Rampur.
The other lure which brought people to the sabhas was the chance of seeing Rahul Gandhi and of grabbing a free khat. “People in earlier rallies took home khats. What will go wrong if we will take one?“ asked Vidyawati, who like many others tried unsuccessfully to take a khat home from the sabha.