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Thursday, Dec 12, 2019

‘Learning experience,’ says Rahul Gandhi on visit to flood-hit Wayanad

Gandhi also stuck to his assertion, that other than Wayanad and flood-related issues of the state he would not talk about any other issue during the visit.

india Updated: Aug 30, 2019 16:53 IST
Ramesh Babu
Ramesh Babu
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi  visits a flood-affected area in Chaligandha, Payyampally village in Wayanad.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi visits a flood-affected area in Chaligandha, Payyampally village in Wayanad.(ANI PHOTO.)
         

Hopping from one relief camp to another, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi travelled the length and breadth of his constituency in Wayanad for three days to hear the problems of the flood-hit people patiently. He said it was a learning experience and was moved by the spirit of the people who are bouncing back cutting their losses.

During the Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi had visited the constituency only twice for campaigning but this time he spent five days during his two visits. For many, tragedy struck again at a time when they were about to piece together their lives after last year’s flood of the century. Many broke down before him as they narrated their stories and at times he found it hard to control his own emotions.

“In one of the camps he asked a little girl whether she was scared. She said no adding she was eager to go back to her school and meet her friends,” said Kozhikkode DCC president T Siddiq adding he covered some of the remotest places during his visit. He trekked to hamlets of ethnic tribals, Cholanaikans, who lead secluded lives in caves and dense forests. “Wherever he went he was one among them. A Cholanaikan tribal leader said he was the first leader to visit his hamlet,” said Siddiq.

“Other than innumerable security personnel, it was not a high-profile visit. He sat with people and heard them patiently. He did not make tall promises either. His concern and sincerity were overwhelming,” said a retired teacher P Madusoodanan who was present when he visited a relief camp in Mananthawady adding his visit came when it was needed most. “What is really missing this time was the media glare and it was low-key,” said another resident.

Gandhi also stuck to his assertion, that other than Wayanad and flood-related issues of the state he would not talk about any other issue during the visit. When the media asked him with about his latest tweet on Jammu and Kashmir he said, “Look I am in Wayanad to meet my people. I don’t want to divert my attention. I will not talk about anything other than Wayanad,” he said.

He said he will ensure everyone gets compensated for the loss they have suffered during the recent floods and landslides. He said he has already talked to the Prime Minister and Chief Minister about this. He lauded the people for reacting to the tragedy with great spirit and endurance. And many of those affected said he came at the right time to wipe their tears.

“It is a great honour for me to represent Wayanad in Parliament. My aim is to develop a relationship with you, of love and affection. You will see me soon taking up your issues in Parliament. I will be with you and I will come frequently,” he said before concluding his visit. He said bravery and dignity displayed by the people of Wayanad during the tragedy was really humbling.

Many senior leaders said his visit had energized the party rank and file in the state. He has also opened two new MP offices in Kalpetta in Wayanad and Mukkam in Kozhikkode district - his constituency falls under three districts Wayanad, Malappuram and Kozhikkode. “People of Wayanad can be proud of being represented by a compassionate, humble and down to earth leader. They look like sharing their pain and sorrow with a person among themselves,” tweeted AICC general secretary K C Venugopal who accompanied him during his trip.