For people of Amethi, who have been waiting for their MP Rahul Gandhi to listen to their problems, Congress President Sonia Gandhi stepped in instead and assured them that Rahul would be back soon.
Most locals were seen convinced and gave her a hard time stopping her cavalcade at various places with their long list of complaints. A few days ago, several posters of ‘MP missing’ had come up in Amethi.
At some places they even told Sonia that verbal assurances were not enough and asked her to send Rahul to listen to their problems. She, on the other hand, kept on asking Rahul’s representative to note down complaints and grievances.
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“He will be back soon and will visit these people. I am here on his behalf. Rahul or Priyanka or me, it does not matter. Amethi and Rae Bareli are both our responsibilities,” said Sonia, when asked “when would Rahul come back?”
However, as the information about Sonia’s visit spread, locals started gathering along road side at different places.
In Fursatganj area of Amethi, locals stopped Sonia’s cavalcade to complain about poor condition of roads.
“Kehne se kuch nahi hoga Madam. Road banwa dijiye. Vidhayak to sunte nahi hai (verbal assurances would not help much. Even local Congress MLA also does not listen)” Satish Singhal, a villager in Fursatganj told Sonia after he along with other villagers stopped Sonia’s cavalcade. Another villager, Ajai Kumar Singh shouted “Rahul ji ko bhejiye”. Sonia listened to the complaints and assured villagers that Rahul would visit them soon.
In Tendewa village of Bahadurpur block in Amethi, students and teachers of a madarsa stopped her cavalcade and complained that long time back they had requested Rahul Gandhi for stoppages of some trains there.
They also asked Sonia to intervene and ensure repair of the road. Sonia told them that work has been sanctioned.
“We are not angry with Rahul ji. We are just sad. There are many problems here. We are happy that she has promised to resolve them,” Abdul Kaiz, a local resident told The Indian Express after meeting Sonia.
Sonia also visited villages like Pure Kumharanpur, Brahmini, Nigoha in Bahadurpur block of Amethi to console families of victims, who recently died in a train accident.
In Kumharanpur, she met the family of Ram Avsan, who died in the recent train accident. His wife Asha Devi and elder brother Ram Khilawan said, “we were hoping for arrival of our MP Rahul ji as well”.
In Brahmini, Sonia sat on the ground in the house of another victim Nimba Pasi to offer condolence.
There also locals gathered to share their problems including lack of compensation for destroyed crops. Family members of the victim, who was the bread earner, said that while they have got ex-gratia by railways, they were yet to get the one announced by state government.
Sonia assured people that she would take up the issue including that of improper survey done by the administration for crops destroyed in excessive rain.
On her way back, Sonia’s cavalcade was stopped by an elderly woman Ram Surat Singh, who told Sonia not to forget them. To this, Sonia made her sit in her vehicle next to her promising that they would not forget about people.
In Rae Bareli, Sonia visited over six villages enquiring farmers about the damage to the crop due to excessive rain and hailstorm.
In Uttar Para village on Unchahar Road, Sonia met family members of Shitla Prasad, who had died in the recent train accident. In Daud Nagar, she met farmer Vijay Bahadur Singh. After Sonia left, Singh said that they complained about lacunae in survey done by administration for assessing damage to the crop.
“She has assured us to take up the issue with the state government,” said Singh.