Rahul spends night in tribal's hut in MP

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Tikamgarh (MP), Apr 16 (UNI) Unfazed by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati's calling his love for Dalits a ''mere hoax'' Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi spent last night in a tribal's hut sleeping on a cot and eating dry plums at drought-affected Baldevgarh Block's Taprian village, 30 km from here.

Mr Gandhi along with Uttar Pradesh Congress President Rita Bahuguna and a Self Help Group worker reached the village around midnight with Special Protection Group security cover.

After visiting the dwelling of a tribal named Ghanshyam and listening to his problems, Mr Gandhi took shelter in Rama's hut where the tribal host offered him a sack to sit and dry plums to eat.

Later, Rama offered him food and water in an earthenware.

The Congress General Secretary listened to the tribal family's woes till 0200 hrs and then slept on a cot.

Talking to mediapersons after Mr Gandhi left the village, the tribals said the Congress leader had inquired about the drought situation, implementation of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), migration of labourers and the functioning of local administration.

Mr Gandhi reached a hotel here straight from the village at 0630 hrs today to hold a meeting with Congress workers, where he discussed matters like party unity, employment, drought and other problems.

According to party sources, local party leaders complained to him about inadequate representation to women and Scheduled Castes in the revamped Pradesh Congress Committee, on which Mr Gandhi assured to take proper action.

The Congress General Secreaty had reached Tikamgarh town last night at about 2100 hrs via Uttar Pradesh's Lalitpur and Jhansi districts on an unscheduled trip.

After staying at a hotel for two hours, he left for Tiparni village. Mediapersons and party workers, who followed him, were forced to stay outside the village by the SPG.

Mr Gandhi left for Chhatarpur by road around noon today.

UNI XC-KV SP akj ht1525

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