Early start: Gandhi Gen-Five on campaign trail

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Former pradhan of Chandosi gram sabha Kanhaiya Baksh Singh had an unusual assignment on Sunday, April 12 — he escorted Priyanka Rehan and Maira Rehan and Maira made friends easily with village children, shaking hands & distributing Congress badges. Vadra’s children, Rehan (7) and Maira (5), on their maiden independent election trail in the family pocketborough of Amethi. Singh (53) sums it up with an old Awadhi saying, “Kathi ki bili bhi gungunati hai (even a cat in the house of a katha singer knows how to hum).” Today, he is a proud man, having helped in the launch of the fourth generation of Gandhis in the hurly-burly of heartland politics. “It came as a bolt from the blue,” he told TOI.

Resting at home, Singh was summoned to Munshiganj rest house for “an important business”. There, the old family loyalist was given charge of Rehan and Maira, who were raring to go “canvassing for mama” all on their own, with only a maid and security personnel for company.

The team left the resthouse at 10 in the morning and for the next two-and-a-half hours toured adjacent villages of Chandoki, Ramshahpur and Hardoia. “The little ones are born charmers,” said Singh, who excitedly described how “the two took to meeting people like fish takes to water”. They needed no tutoring. “Gandhi parivar ke bachcho ko bhala kya samjhane ki zaroorat hai (where’s the need to train a Gandhi kid),” he said. Both made friends easily with village children, shaking hands and distributing badges with pictures of Rahul and Sonia.

The strategy to woo the elderly was different. Clad in red kurta and white pyjama, little Rehan hit it off with them by bending down and touching their feet without any prompting, parting with a crisp one-liner: “Rahul mama ko zaroor vote dijiye (please vote for Uncle Rahul).” Like a consummate politician, Rehan, while walking the lanes of Hardoia, a Dalit dominated area, stopped by an ailing old man on a string bed in his veranda. He inched closer, looked at the man and asked, “How are you uncle?” before repeating the all-important message. The children
even walked into huts to meet and chat up veiled women who were reluctant to come out in presence of village seniors.

Priyanka told the media on Monday that the kids were out campaigning for their Mamaji and had even provided her with valuable feedback on problems like power cuts facing the constituency. “I thought let them have a first-hand feel of life…” said a beaming Priyanka.


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Ritu Singh seasoned news hunter with ink in veins and truth as a compass. Cuts through spin, exposes hidden agendas, decodes power plays. Unwavering voice for accountability, amplifying unheard stories. A watchdog who sleeps with one eye open, keeping democracy on its toes

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