Life has not been same for Sunita Kori, a Dalit woman of Amethi, since Rahul spent a night at her hut in 2008. Recently she got AAP, SP largesse. The biggest fallout, she claims, is village jealousy
A small hut, with bare bricks and an asbestos roof, stands solemnly among several huts in Jawaharpur village of Amethi. But as nondescript as it looks, it also draws a lot of attention. And that’s not just from fellow villagers passing by. Its latest visitor was Uttar Pradesh cabinet minister Gayatri Prasad Prajapati. The Samajwadi Party’s Amethi MLA drove from Lucknow on January 26 and handed over a letter sanctioning Rs 1.6 lakh to Sunita Kori, a Dalit woman who lives in the hut, so that she could use it towards construction of a home under the Lohia Awas Yojna scheme. Two weeks before Prajapati came calling, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) member Kumar Vishwas visited the hut and promised Kori that his party would provide a shed for her roofless home. The shed, that now sits comfortably over the hut, was swiftly put in place.
The cycle of political guests at Kori’s home began with Rahul Gandhi’s visit on January 26, 2008, when the Congress vice-president had dinner with Kori and her husband Madan Lal, and spent the night at their hut. While the visit must have come in handy for Rahul, the Amethi MP, to take on then chief minister Mayawati’s Dalit vote bank, life has not been the same for the Koris since.
The biggest fallout, they claim, is that the attention has made them an object of envy for neighbours. It’s not uncommon for them to hear taunts from others in the village. Such is the “jealously”, alleges Kori, that villagers have blocked her hut, as well as a dozen other huts belonging to her extended family of in-laws, nieces and nephews, from the main access road. Kori’s and her other family member’s huts are located in an enclosed premises; all members can only step outside through a small door of one of the huts.“They did this after Rahul Gandhi used the main road to come and visit me,” says Kori. They live in “constant fear”, and a woman of the family, after taking a look on the other side of the wall, says that “someone is recording this interview”.
The Koris blame every dispute with other villagers on “jealousy over the Rahul visit”. Last October, Kori and Lal were “beaten with sticks by neighbours”. Showing bruises on his left arm, Lal says they were beaten because of a dispute Madan’s brother had with the neighbours. “It became an excuse to vent their jealousy over the Rahul visit,” alleges Kori. In January last year, continued…