WADIYAL (TELANGANA):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 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.
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 child.
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’s Hindi speech to Telugu took the name of Rao inviting cheers and catcalls from the gathering.