Rahul's stay at village may be a move to win votes

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Amethi, UP, Jan 28: With Lok Sabha elections nearing the rather innovative idea of AICC general secretary and Amethi MP Rahul Gandhi to spend a night in a predominantly SC village here is being seen as Congress' effort to win over the traditional votebank of the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party.

In the year 2004, Congress president Sonia Gandhi's daughter Priyanka Vadra Gandhi had stormed into a police station here after some village influentials pulled down the 'kuchha' house of a Dalit, Ram Bhajan. Ram Bhajan was shooed away by the police when he had gone to register his complaint. He then approached Ms Vadra who reached the police station and got the complaint registered.

Interestingly, Ms Mayawati was the Chief Minister during her earlier term when the incident had taken place.

''Ms Mayawati is again the chief minister and Rahul decided to break bread with village women and spend night in a thatched hut...It would not be incorrect to say that Congress is once again trying to recapture its lost base in the Dalit segment,'' said a senior party leader in the state capital.

After addressing a late night meeting at village Pure Jawahar village here yesterday, a famished Rahul accepted the invitation of local Sheduled Caste women to share a meal with them. What's more, he took over a thatched hut in the village to spend the chilly night on a bamboo 'khat'.

Mr Gandhi was addressing a meeting at the predominantly SC village. As the meeting got over around 0230 hrs, he accepted the invitation of village women to share a meal with them. Perhaps tired, he willingly accepted the suggestion of spending the night there. The young MP soon took over a thatched hut, much to the chargin of his SPG guards. He slept on a bamboo cot and used a villagers' blanket to fight the chill.

The AICC general secretary arrived here on Republic Day on a three-day visit during which he is expected to take stock of several schemes and hold meetings in his constituency.

UNI

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