WADIYAL (ADILABAD DIST):He began walking at 8 am and by 12.50 pm he was done. Walking, almost running, waving, glad-handing passers-by, flashing his dimpled smile, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi unspooled a charm offensive in Telangana on Friday with a 15 km march in Adilabad district through four villages. As flag waving supporters waited patiently, Rahul Gandhi did not let them down.
Fagged out by the walk in the hot sun, Rahul met a farmer M Gangadhar and freshened up at his house and cat-napped before addressing farmers.
But before that there were the photo-ops. At the crack of dawn, Rahul started meeting the families affected by farm crisis. As he entered houses of farmers who had committed suicide and consoled them and handed over cheques, there was much wailing and hugging, as Rahul listened patiently. He visited the house of Velma Rajeshwar, a farmer who committed suicide. Rahul Gandhi consoled the family members asking them about the loans they have their financial position and others. “He asked about the death of the farmer and other aspects. He assured all possible assistance to them,’’ Mahender Reddy, a neighbour of Rajeshwar, who translated Rahul Gandhi’s Hindi conversation to Telugu for Gangamma said. Later, as he began his walk, hundreds of villagers started walking along with Rahul and his entourage, with the commandoes having a tough time keeping people at bay.
At one point, Rahul lifted up a small child on his shoulder and walked, much to the bemusement of the parents of the parents. At Laxmanchanda, he met two families and handed over cheques.
Later, addressing farmers who had assembled from nearby villages, the Congress vice-president took potshots at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the Land Acquisition Act and at Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao calling him ‘Mini Modi’.
“Modiji and mini-Modiji claim to change India and Telangana, but they forgot the poor who actually transform the country,” Rahul said, without naming Rao.
“If Modiji or the Chief Minister here meet farmers then I don’t have to (worry about them),” he said.
Raising the land bill issue, he said, “If land is taken from you, it will be taken without asking you (for your consent). There will be no social audit.”
Though Rahul Used Mini Modi thrice, he did not make a direct reference to Rao but TPCC Chief N Uttam Kumar Reddy, who translated Rahul Gandhi’s Hindi speech to Telugu took the name of Rao inviting cheers and catcalls from the gathering.
For Telangana Congress leaders, it was like sweet music considering the fact that Rahul’s Telangana visit began one day late.
Explaining the importance of land and how it’s value is growing, Rahul Gandhi told the attentive crowd the initiatives taken by the UPA government over the past 10 years for the farmers. The UPA’s waiver of farm loans and others evoked good response from the public.
For the people of the villages traversed by the Gandhi scion, the joy was quiet visible. ``A person from Gandhi family has come to console farmers of an interior village. This never happened and we are excited to see him from close,’’ said 60-year Gangamma of Katrikal village.
“Did any one you secure a job,’’ Rahul Gandhi asked youngsters to which there was a resounding No . Rahul Gandhi said Ache Din were only for Modi, who is visiting China, Canada and other foreign countries.
“People are now repenting that they have committed a mistake (by voting BJP to power). Hum ne galti kardiya (we did wrong) is what they are feeling now,’’ he said. Rahul Gandhi wound up his tour with the meeting at Wadiyal and left for Nanded, later in the afternoon.