It was a pleasant surprise for ‘beedi’ worker Macherla Padma when she had a special visitor in Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi who walked into her house and spent some time to rest after his gruelling ‘padyatra’ in the district.
40-year-old Padma, whose husband works in a Gulf country, was getting ready to attend a farmers’ meeting in front of her house, to be addressed by Rahul, when SPG personnel informed her that the Congress Vice-President would come to her home.
“We were really surprised,” Padma said after Rahul and other Congress leaders including Digvijay Singh, came and sat for a while as his address was scheduled a good two hours later.
She said the Gandhi scion enquired about her work and earnings but could not communicate much because of “language barrier”. She offered them tea, bananas and buttermilk though they had come with their own packed food.
Padma said she offered a cake of bath soap to Rahul to freshen up.
Rahul used a make-shift rest room behind her house put up by security personnel before getting ready to deliver his speech here after winding up his visit to five villages and meeting families of farmers who committed suicide due to mounting debt.
The Congress leader enquired with the families about the circumstances under which the farmers had to kill themselves, and how they make a living now and sought to console them.
He handed over a cheque for Rs two lakh to each of these families.
The tale of Laxmi, wife of Shatam Gangadhar who committed suicide in Rachapur village, was no different from the four other families in Koratikal, Laxmanchanda, Pottupally and Wadial.
“Now, I work as a beedi labourer earning Rs 50 to Rs 60 per day. I am worried about the future of my children. The government did not help us in any way except that I have started getting widow pension after my husband’s death. I do not know how to feed and educate my children,” the 25-year-old Laxmi, a mother of 10-year-old boy and one-year-old girl, told PTI.