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Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, accompanied by Delhi MP Ajay Maken, on Tuesday met porters at the New Delhi railway station and promised to fight for their problems. “I want to listen to and understand your problems so that we can work with you,” he told a group of porters at the station.
He spent an hour interacting with the porters at platform number one, promising “from his heart” to work with them. “I am not a magician, but I will stand with you and fight for your problems,” Rahul told them.
Rahul’s visit to the railway station was unplanned. He reportedly decided to drop in at the last minute after members of the Uttari Railway Mazdoor Union (URMU) met him in the morning at his residence.
“We told him about our problems and difficulties. He then proposed to meet the porters at the station itself,” URMU general secretary B C Sharma said.
Railway police officers, too, were taken by surprise. “This was a last-minute visit. We had no prior information,” an officer said.
At the station, he reminded his audience that the Congress government had given the country the Right to Information, rights to food and employment in the last 10 years. He even asked them what rights they wanted. “I want minimum rights for everyone, that is my aim,” he said.
Meanwhile, the porters expressed their solidarity with the youth leader. “I have been working here as a porter for 25 years. Never before has anyone cared to come and speak to us,” Ismail said.
Another porter, Kalu Ram Meena, said while he knew that Rahul had visited them to woo them for their votes, he was “happy that at least someone decided to come and listen to us”.
During the interaction, Rahul also spoke of the need to strengthen the ground for the 70-crore Indians who do odd jobs in the country. “I want to strengthen the ground for these workers so that they can break the ‘ceiling’ that stops them from growing. They want to grow and they need some help,” he said.
The porters demanded an increase in rates for carrying luggage, medical facilities similar to railway employees and railway passes for the family, among others. Rahul assured them that he would take up their problems with the railway minister.