With hope in their hearts, Purulia people charmed by RahulApril 24th, 2009 - 9:24 pm ICT by IANS
By Soudhriti Bhabani
Purulia (West Bengal), April 24 (IANS) Seventy-eight-year-old Kalachand Mahato woke up before dawn Friday and walked almost 20 km from his home in Bhuari to see Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi despite his failing health. A tribal of Purulia district, Mahato goes back with a feeling of fulfilment as he not only saw Rajiv Gandhi’s son, but touched him too.
“I heard from my neighbours that Rahul Gandhi, son of our late leader Rajiv Gandhi, will come to Purulia to address a political rally today (Friday). So I came ignoring my failing health and advancing age,” Mahato told IANS.
“I jostled with hundreds of other Congress and Trinamool supporters and others to come as close to the barricaded area as possible. I wanted to be in the front row so that I could hear him from close. I now have a fulfilling feeling as I managed to touch his hand,” Mahato said after the rally at the Purulia Sainik School ground, about 10 km from Purulia town.
Gandhi, clad in a spotless white kurta-pyjama, seemed in a cheerful mood throughout his 20-minute visit, and came near the barricade after delivering a brief speech.
He walked close to the barricade, shook hands with a large number of people, both young and old, as the Special Protection Group (SPG) personnel flanking him seemed on the edge.
Earlier, towards the end of his speech, Gandhi thanked the people for having come to the rally despite the scorching sun.
“I welcome you all and am really grateful that you all have come despite the sweltering heat,” Gandhi said.
The mercury has been hovering near the 50-degree Celsius mark in Purulia over the last few days.
“I could never imagine that I will be experiencing such a nice thing. It’s an achievement. Now I can happily go home,” Mahato said.
He was not the only one swept off his feet by Gandhi’s charm. Many like Mahato had come from far away to see and hear Rahul with hopes in their eyes.
Durga Sardar of Laxmanpur, over 22 km from Purulia town, was full of hope that backward people like her would benefit under Gandhi’s leadership.
“During the Left Front regime there has not been any development in Purulia. People are starving. There is no scope for agriculture or any kind of development in the region.
“We have supported this government for long. But they have deceived us. So I have come to see Rahul-ji. Under his leadership, I hope some good things will happens for backward people like us,” Durga said.
Sixty-seven-year-old Baburam Mahato, who came from Baghmandi, around 35 km from here, was equally enthusiastic.
“We have now got our leader for the future,” he said, as he started his long trek back home.
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