Two-and-a-half years after Mr. Gandhi's surprise visit to Kunjikori Lal's house, nothing has changed. The people just feel the pain of broken dreams
In October 2011, when Rahul Gandhi paid a surprise visit to Kunjikori Lal’s house in this nondescript village in Bundelkhand region, the farmer became a celebrity overnight.
For the global media, his house became another port of call, and the local people started dreaming big, believing that the fate and face of their village would change. But two-and-a-half years down the line, nothing has changed. The people just feel the pain of broken dreams.
“Rahul Gandhi did not promise much except a road leading to the village. But we did expect many things to change after his visit. He had seen the living conditions here, and we hoped at least something in our lives will change,” Mr. Lal’s son Lal Chand said.
“When Mr. Gandhi asked for food that evening, we made special dal and puri for him. Otherwise, we would have had roti and chutney,” said Mr. Lal’s wife, Pokhan Devi.
“We had not asked for anything except a road and tube-well. But there has been no development. Politicians only promise but do nothing,” she said with some bitterness in her voice while offering water and tea.
Mr. Lal was away in Jhansi. As word spread that the media has reached his doorstep again, many people gathered, each eager to say a few things. Bholan said he asked for a tube-well and Mr. Gandhi told him that the Centre sent the money for such things but the State governments did not pass it on to districts and villages.
“Do such words help us in any way? Look at the condition of roads and the number of unemployed youth here,” another person said. The recent hailstorm ruined their entire crop and farmers can only wait for compensation from the government.
Mr. Gandhi had dined in the open space in Mr. Lal’s house where his daughter-in-law gives tuitions. The single room was stacked with bags of pulses. While people busied themselves with fetching cold drinks for the “media guests,” Mr. Lal’s grandson was introduced. “Myself Rajeev Lal,” he said. The Class V student said he spoke to Mr. Gandhi for a long time that evening.
After visiting more houses and talking to people, Mr. Gandhi slept in the government school building and left early in the morning.