UP polls: On the first day of Rahul Gandhi's campaign, locals run away with 1,500 cots
His 'khaat sabha' turned into chaos as villagers raided the tent where refreshments and bottled water were stored, then left with the beds.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s "khaat sabha" in Uttar Pradesh’s Dewaria district on Tuesday ended in chaos, as local villagers left with around 1,500 wooden cots used at the programme, reported ANI. The interactive session, which began with Gandhi attacking Narendra Modi on his policies for farmers, took an awkward turn as villagers raided the tent where refreshments and bottled water were stored, reported NDTV.
The Congress had purchased around 4,000 cots – each cost Rs 800 – for various "khaat sabhas" planned over the next month. At least 1,500 were used on Tuesday. The idea was a nod to panchayat meetings with village elders, where participants are made to sit on these cots.
During his speech, Gandhi said, "Modiji talked a lot about farmers and how he intended to help them. But as soon as he came to power, farmers were promptly forgotten."
Earlier in the day, Gandhi launched the Congress' poll campaign for the upcoming election in Uttar Pradesh with his "kisan yatra". According to The Times of India, the party vice president will go on a door-to-door campaign to collect kisan mangpatras (charters of farmers' demands) and hold the interactive session. The khaat sabha is also a part of the campaign.
The Congress’ Uttar Pradesh election campaign has been designed by strategist Prashant Kishor, who had come up with "chai pe charcha" for Narendra Modi before the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 and the "har ghar dastak" campaign by Nitish Kumar ahead of Bihar elections in 2015.