Alawalpur: Walking and talking with farmers, students, women, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi was off to an early start Wednesday, the second day of his march against forcible land acquisition in Chief Minister Mayawati’s state.
Clad in a starched white kurta-pyjama and Nike sneakers, Gandhi started the padyatra towards Shatbota village at 6.30 a.m. – almost three and half kilometres away from his night halt at Rampur Badli – and reached at 7.20 a.m.
The 41-year-old Gandhi scion interacted with villagers, students and women folk on his way. The padyatra will culminate at a Congress Kisan Mahapanchayat at Aligarh Saturday.
After reaching Shatbota, he addressed the village panchayat and had a glass of lassi offered by a villager, Ved Prakash.
“I wanted to understand the situation of farmers and that is the reason I’m here between you, to talk to everyone of you,” Gandhi told a gathering of 200 villagers.
Then, he walked another five kilometres to Alawalpur.
Trudging the dust tracks of rural Uttar Pradesh, not far from the national capital, Gandhi began his march Tuesday, walking 19 km in six hours and visiting five villages.
He made his night halt at a farmer’s home in Rampur Badli.
“He woke up at about 5 a.m. today (Wednesday) and asked for newspapers. I immediately sent my son to get it for him and he read it for some half-an-hour,” Vijaypal Sharma, a local farmer and Congress supporter, in whose house Gandhi spent his first night, told IANS.
The Sharma household was all praise for the Gandhi scion. Aman, Vijay’s brother, said that he easily intermingled with all the family members. Gandhi was asked by Sharma’s family members how he was feeling after a tiring schedule. To this he replied: “Thik-thak hain” (I am okay).
He also took a quick bath on the terrace of the double-storey house before the dinner, said a family member of the household. Sitting outside, elderly people discussed about the Gandhi clan. “There has never been a leader like Indira Gandhi. Let’s see what Rahul Gandhi does for the country,” remarked Ramesh, a villager.
Gandhi’s march is clearly aimed at giving the Congress an edge with an eye to the crucial elections to the state assembly next year.