Rahul participates in 'chaupal' at Dalit village in Jhansi

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Lucknow, Apr 15 (UNI) Notwithstanding Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati's diatribe against him on the Dalit issue, Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, continuing his programme to meet the Dalits in Uttar Pradesh, today participated in a 'chaupal' at a Dalit village in Jhansi district of the drought-hit Bundelkhand region.

Mr Gandhi, who was on his way to Tikamgarh in Madhya Pradesh, made an unscheduled visit to Ghisaoli village on the UP-MP border and stayed there for almost two hours.

During his stay, the Amethi MP attended a 'chaupal' in the village and gave a patient hearing to the problems of the villagers.

He even assured them that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was making all efforts to end their miseries, sources said.

Mr Gandhi had also some snacks and tea made by the villagers before he left for Tikamgarh.

Jhansi District Magistrate Rajeev Agarwal confirmed Mr Gandhi's visit to the Dalit village, although a police official maintained that it was an unscheduled visit of the Congress leader and that the police came to know after the SPG informed the district authorities.

Earlier, during the byelection campaign, Ms Mayawati alleged the AICC General Secretary ''cleans himself'' after visiting any Dalit in UP.

Yesterday, during a function on the birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar, she charged the Congress with insulting the Dalits by opposing Ambedkar during elections.

Mr Gandhi had in the past stayed overnight at a Dalit house in his Amethi constitutency in January last while last month, he visited Etawah where family members of a Dalit family were murdered.

During his Bundelkand visit in February, the Amethi MP also visited several Dalit villages.

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