Rahul Gandhi reaches out to Etawah Dalit victims


Aminabad (Uttar Pradesh) : Congress MP Rahul Gandhi endeared himself to the people of this Uttar Pradesh village, where five members of a Dalit family were killed, by reaching out and mingling freely with all Saturday, despite Chief Minister Mayawati’s pre-emptive move to rush here a day earlier.

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Gandhi proved to be surely one up over Mayawati because of his plain and simple ways.

Unlike Mayawati, who appeared to be rather officious and perfunctory in her demeanour and hardly had any emotional interaction with the people of Aminabad in Etawah district, the Congress general secretary seemed to naturally endear himself to the people by simply reaching out to all and sundry.

If Mayawati was more focused on talking only to officials and announcing compensation packages for the victims, Gandhi went out of his way to mingle not only with the survivors of the family, but also with others in the neighbourhood.

Arjun Singh Dohre, the victim, was murdered in cold blood Thursday, along with his wife Soni, father Vishram, mother Rajni and brother-in-law Dilbhan Singh, leaving four daughters orphaned.

Displaying the typical Nehru-Gandhi family trait, he not only mixed around with the locals, but even sat on the floor, took off his shoes to enter the victim’s house and then sat on the steps to tie his shoe laces again.

Gandhi spent about half-an-hour in the victim’s home and later spent about the same time talking to people outside. Setting aside all security cordons, he chose to jump over the barricading to reach out to bystanders who looked at him appealingly.

He refrained from making any announcements, apparently to avoid the impression that he was there to play any political gimmick.

However, the victim’s kin Sarvesh Kumar later told media persons that Gandhi had offered a monetary assistance of Rs.250,000 in the form of a fixed deposit for Dohre’s four minor daughters.

“Rahul Gandhi has promised to ensure personal care of bringing up the kids,” Sarvesh said.

The Congress MP returned to New Delhi by the same helicopter that had flown him to this village in the morning.

Earlier, both Samajwadi Party and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders had visited the victims.