Sonia in Rae Bareli: Dalits and Muslims on agendaBy IANS
Monday, November 29, 2010
RAE BARELI - The first day of Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s three-day visit to her parliamentary constituency Monday seemed to be virtually devoted to Dalits and Muslims.
While it is a routine ritual for Gandhi to undertake periodical tours of her constituency, it was somewhat unusual for her to be concentrating only on Dalits and Muslims.
She visited a couple of Dalit homes, interacted with the community members and sought information relating to welfare and social security schemes funded by the central government.
She also visited a Darul-Uloom Mohammadi Madrasa in Hallaur village and readily conceded their demand for construction of an additional classroom out of her constituency fund.
Earlier, after landing in Lucknow Monday morning, she drove straight to the Indira Gandhi Eye Hospital run by the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation from the erstwhile building of one-time popular English daily, National Herald.
The newspaper was founded by her grand-father-in-law Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister.
After a quick feedback from patients and doctors, she drove down to Rao Bareli, making unscheduled halts at a number of villages.
Her constituents got easy and free access to Gandhi. She got a rousing reception everywhere, with crowds shouting slogans of “Sonia Gandhi, Zindabad!”
The common complaint in most villages related to irregularities in implementation of government schemes meant for the poor.
Villagers also drew her attention to the denial of ‘job cards’ to a large number of poor people. Some carrying job cards alleged they were not paid wages.
However, what seemed to shock her was the realization that despite release of funds from the central road fund six years ago, a road meant to connect Mau and Maharajganj villages was yet to be made.
A visibly agitated Gandhi asked her Congress workers to have word sent to the concerned sub-divisional magistrate and other state officials to explain the lapse.