Rahul stays night at Dalit's house in Amethi

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Amethi, May 17: Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, least deterred by the criticism of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, once again spent a night at a Dalit's house in his parliamentary constituency here.

This was the second time this year, when Mr Gandhi has spent the night at a Dalit's house in his constituency sharing their simple dal, chawal and sleeping on a cot. Yesterday, Mr Gandhi went to Wanpurwa village in Amethi block at around 2130 hrs and stayed at the house of Ramavtaur Pasi and Buddha Devi, both Dalits, till early morning.

According to sources, during that period the Congress leader held a 'choupal' on the veranda of their house and asked the people about the progress of NREGA, Self Help Groups(SHGs) besides other development works.

Before visiting Wanpurva, Mr Gandhi went to Ganeri village, where also he held a 'choupal' with the locals at a temple.

''The members of a SHG on the name of Gulabi Sammhu had direct interaction with the leader and they were asked by Mr Gandhi to seek all government support to make the group more strong and viable in the village,'' sources claimed.

In his direct conversation with the villagers, the local MP asked them to change their attitude and go before the government to seek their rights for employment and development of their areas. He also querried from the people whether Congress workers help them in their problems and how they were helping them in the development works.

Mr Gandhi also asked his host Dalit family about its problems and whether they have been provided with the benefits promised to them.

After the 'choupal' which ended at around 0130 hrs, the Congress youth icon had dinner served by the Dalit family and later slept on a cot at the verandah.

Mr Gandhi left the village at around 0230 hrs this morning, when the area was lashed by thunderstorm, sources said.

State Congress spokesperson Akhilesh Pratap Singh had also confirmed the night stay of Mr Gandhi at the house of the Dalits last night.

On his trip to Jawaharpur village in Sangrampur block, the local MP visited the house of one Sunita, a Dalit, and took some eatables offered by her and spent the entire night on a cot in her house. The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister had severely criticised the Congress leader for his ''pro-Dalit'' attitude and even alleged that Mr Gandhi took ''special bath'' after his visits to Dalit homes.

''I have also come to know that when this Prince(Rahul Gandhi) returns to his home in Delhi after meeting and eating with Dalits, he takes a bath with a special soap and goes through purification rituals,'' Ms Mayawati had said during a public meeting in Azamgarh last month. She had further alleged that the Congress was leaving no stone unturned to woo the Dalits and thus sending its ''Prince'' to live and eat with them just to garner their votes.

The CM's reaction came after Mr Gandhi narrated the story of a Dalit, who held his hand and took him to his house during his recent visit to Etawah and showed how he was living with no power and other basic amenities during the Congress state convention at Kanpur on March 31. He added that the Dalit also told him that Kanshi Ram and Rajiv Gandhi cared for them but now the present BSP government was doing nothing for them.

Earlier, Mr Gandhi had also gone to Ameenabad village in Etawah on March 15 to console the family of a Dalit who was killed, which had further enraged the BSP supremo.


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