For Bastar's tribals, Rahul Gandhi is just 'Indira Gandhi's grandson'

Jagdalpur (Chhattisgarh), Sep 26 (IANS) They cheered, clapped and climbed atop chairs to catch a glimpse of Rahul Gandhi, but at the end of it all, for the locals and tribals of Bastar, the Congress vice president was just a celebrity as he was "Indira Gandhi's grandson".

The Gandhi scion has arrived here for a rally to address issues related to tribals who dominate the region, with assembly elections due in the state in November.

The tribals of Bastar voted overwhelmingly for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2008 assembly elections with the party bagging 11 of the 12 seats from the region.

In his speech, Gandhi talked about how the tribals are being neglected with regard to land, health and education issues. But it seemed, the Congress vice-president failed to strike a chord with the tribals who were treating him more as a celebrity than a leader.

"I was told Indira Gandhi's grandson is coming. She had visited us a long time back. So, I came to see him (Rahul Gandhi)," said Jheeni Devi, 62 one of the many tribals who arrived at the venue in dozens of trucks and buses.

Around 10,000 people came to hear Gandhi.

Similar views were shared by her neighbour, 34-year-old Raju who was happy to see the young Gandhi and cheered and clapped all through his speech, but only because he was "Indira Ji's grandson".

"He is from the Gandhi family. My father told me about Indira ji," Raju said, though sheepishly admitting that he was not impressed by the young Gandhi's speech.

"He is talking about our rights and issues, but we are happy with the present government as well," he said.

Interestingly, there were many like Raju who came just because they heard that someone from the Gandhi family was coming to meet them,

When the IANS correspondent asked 22-year-old Briha why she decided to attend the rally, her answer was "Gandhi" as she pointed towards the stage where Rahul Gandhi was seated.

Many of them admitted that they came to the rally ground just because their family and friends were coming.

But some were willing to give the Congress party a chance.

"I will vote for the Congress if they seriously deliver what they are promising," said Bhumir Singh, a tribal and a daily wage labourer.

This was the first rally after the Maoists' May 25 ambush and killings of senior Congress leaders, including Vidya Charan Shukla, Nandkumar Patel and tribal leader Mahendra Karma who founded the Salwa Judum to combat the Maoists.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have been able to purchase batting replacements for the loss of Michael Hussey and spin reinforcements in the form of Samuel Badree. They appear… More »

Evenly matched Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

Evenly matched Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

A quality that defines Rajasthan and Hyderabad is consistency. Rajasthan was one among two teams to enjoy complete dominance at home last season. Hyderabad… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

New-look RCB will play their first game of IPL-7 on Thursday. More »

Shane Watson issues moral warning

Shane Watson issues moral warning

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

IPL: News Line

IPL: News Line

A round-up of all the news from this season of the IPL. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

Nepal players call off boycott

Nepal players call off boycott

Thaw in relations after formation of an advisory committee that would work in tandem with the Cricket Association of Nepal. More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori's future… More »

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The Preview — Defending champions Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knight Riders More »

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

He was aggrieved by the allegations against him during the hearing. More »

India: cricket's Brazil

India: cricket's Brazil

They are tough to beat with a big talent base exposed to good facilities. (CYCSPL) More »

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Franchises are doing their bit to refurbish the image of the tainted league. More »