“I kept holding his hand for support and forgot my injury. Now, I will work with more enthusiasm,” said Meena Verma, the 34-year-old Congress worker in Ghaziabad who was visited by party vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday.
Verma, who lives in a small two-room rented accommodation in Arthala, sustained burns while burning an effigy during a protest against the Central government over the issue of price rise on Wednesday near Old bus stand.
“I got very emotional and started crying when I saw him walking through the filthy bylanes to reach my house. It is a huge motivation for any party worker if the vice-president visits his or her house. He asked me to come to Delhi once I recover,” Verma said.
Verma’s landlord BS Raghav said her husband is an electrician and the couple has three
“Most tenants in the locality shift after some time, but she has been with us for nearly 12 years,” said Somvati Devi, Raghav’s wife.
Since Friday evening, when the news about Rahul Gandhi’s visit spread in Arthala, Raghav’s house has been buzzing with activities and saw a stream of visitors. Security personnel from the special protection group, local intelligence unit and officials from the Uttar Pradesh police also
visited the area.
“They scanned every corner of my house and the neighbouring buildings. After the incident on Friday, some local party leaders took me to hospital. But I preferred to stay at home after treatment. Congress spokesperson Shobha Ojha came on Friday and told me about Rahulji’s visit. Some people could not believe that Rahulji will visit Arthala, but he kept his words,” Verma said.
Thousands of residents of the locality came out on the streets as Gandhi’s cavalcade arrived.
“There is no one to listen to our issues. Our locality is full of filth and garbage. There is no arrangement for clean drinking water. We wanted Rahul to listen to our problems, but the security personnel did not allow us to go near him,” said Shanti Devi, a resident of the area.
Located near the Hindon and developed as a makeshift colony, Arthala has nearly 36,000 voters. Both the corporation wards in Arthala, which has a population of nearly 55,000, have SP councillors.