dalit votes

Understanding Dalits: Rahul’s Stepping Stones

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Rahul Gandhi’s original aim, as he once said, was simply to visit the homes of the poor, regardless of caste. The poorest huts only happened to be Dalit.

ETAWAH, UP | 15 MARCH 2008

A day after Mayawati’s visit, Rahul meets the family of five Dalits killed by dacoits in village Aminabad in Etawah.

NEW DELHI | 22 JULY 2008

Rahul Gandhi makes a speech in parliament in favour of the nuclear deal. Speaking at the trust vote on Manmohan Singh’s first government, Rahul narrates the tale of Kalavati, a Dalit widow from Yavatmal in Vidarbha. “Energy,” he says, “affects India’s growth. And energy allows us to grow at 9 per cent and that growth is responsible for allowing us to help the poor and make programmes for the poor like (Kalavati)”.

AMETHI, UP | 15 JANUARY 2009

Rahul ferries British foreign secretary David Miliband along to a Dalit settlement in his parliamentary constituency, Amethi. The two spent the night at the house of Dalit couple Shiv Kumari and Karma, in Semra village in Bhetua block.

SHARAVASTI, UP | 23 SEPTEMBER 2009

On a surprise trip to UP, Rahul visits Ram Nagar in Barabanki district, and then drives off to Sharavasti district to spend the night in the house of a Dalit Chedda Passi in Rampu-Deogan village. The next morning, Gandhi bathes out in the open, drawing water from a hand pump, and mingles with the villagers, asking them about their problems. 

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM | 7 OCTOBER 2009

“I see myself going to a human being’s house. I do not see it as a Dalit or an upper caste or a lower caste house. As far as I am concerned, i am going to a poor man’s house, whether Dalit or minority,” Rahul tells a scribe at a press conference. “For me, the only difference I see between a poor person and rich person is that of opportunity”.

BHOPAL, MP | 19 JANUARY 2010

“The media talks only about my visits to the houses of Dalits and chooses to ignore the other places where I go,” the Congress General secretary tells reporters at a press conference on the second day of a two-day visit to MP.