Audience made a rush for cots: Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Khat Sabha’ ended in Deoria UP

The Congress vice-president on Tuesday started a 2500-km Kisan Yatra from the UP town on the Nepal-Bihar border in a bid to launch his party's campaign in the state. To give it the look of a Panchayat, nearly 2000 khats (cots) were placed at the venue for the invitees.
What has come as an embarrassment for the grand old party was chaos soon after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Khat Sabha’ ended in Rudrapur of Uttar Pradesh’s Deoria district as the locals began fighting for ‘khats’ (wooden cots)?
The farmers, who attended the Sabha, were seen decamping with the ‘khats’. Out of the 4,000 cots to be used during these ‘khat sabhas’, around 1500 were used in Deoria alone. It should be noted a khat usually costs around Rs 750 to Rs 800.
Soon after the meeting ended, the audience made a rush for the cots, disorderly with each other to take home one on their shoulders. Even women knotty wrestled with the crowd to take home one, perhaps to literally sleep on what Gandhi said at the venue, when he promised sops and waivers if the Congress is voted to power.
The post-rally stealing is typical of Indian election gatherings. It may be believed that a majority of the people at such venues, except die-hard supporters and party workers, are 'brought' to election meetings with self inductance. The greedy audience, thus, is always looking for some material benefit from their participation. Obviously, the prospect of going home with brand new wooden cots from Gandhi's meeting may have swelled the gathering numbers at Deoria.
The Congress vice-president had earlier in the day launched his poll-campaign for the much important 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly polls with a 2,500 km-long ‘Kisan Yatra’ from agriculture-dominated Rudrapur belt of the state.
The ‘Deoria to Dilli yatra’, which started from Panchlari Kritpura village, was marked by a door-to-door campaign of collecting ‘Kisan Mangpatras’ (charters of farmers demands), one-to-one interaction with farmers through Khaat (cot) Sabhas.
All these campaigns have been devised by publicity man Prashant Kishor.
However Narendra Modi’s ‘Chai par Charcha’ and Nitish Kumar’s `Har Ghar Dastak` campaigns turned out to be successful because these were directed at the grass-root level, to the people living in towns and villages, and not at the big stakeholders and the elite class.
It would be interesting to see whether Rahul’s ‘Khat Sabhas’ would do the same magic and yield the Congress Party a much-needed victory in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls.

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