Rahul Gandhi is married to India, says widow of farmer who met him in 2008

Kalawati Bandurkar was in the spotlight in 2008 when Rahul Gandhi met her while visiting Vidarbha and spoke about her plight in Parliament

Visuals from the Bharat Jodo Yatra (Photo: Twitter/@INCIndia)
Visuals from the Bharat Jodo Yatra (Photo: Twitter/@INCIndia)

Santoshee Gulabkali Mishra

Yavatmal’s Kalawati Bandurkar, the widow of a farmer, who was in the spotlight in 2008 when Rahul Gandhi met her during a visit to the hinterland in Vidarbha and later spoke about her plight in Parliament, met him again during his ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ to thank him for changing her life.

She participated in the yatra on the Hingoli-Wasim Road for 10 kilometres with Gandhi, and plans to continue to do so in the coming days.  

Kalavati's husband Parashuram had committed suicide in 2005 under the burden of a farm loan he could not repay. She had nine children and had to take to working as a labourer on a cotton farm to survive.

During his visit to Vidarbha, Rahul went to her village Jalka near Pandharkavda town of Yavatmal district in Maharashtra. Kalawati's village is not on BJY's route map, so she made a special trip to meet up with him again.

Kalawati was helped by MP Suresh Dhanorkar and MLA Pratibha Dhanorkar to meet up with Gandhi at a function held to celebrate the contribution of tribal freedom fighters like Birsa Munda.

When he saw her on the stage, he asked her in Marathi, “Kassa kaay chalay (how are you doing)?" and "Baal kashi aahet (How are your kids)?"

Speaking to National Herald, Kalawati said, "All those years ago, he had come to me and understood my problems. It meant a lot for a widow like me. I was left alone to struggle after my husband had died by suicide. He left the world under pressure from his farm loan. But I had to continue living with nine children to care for. My life changed after Rahulji raised his voice for me. The monetary help I received from him and others was a big relief for me and my children,” she said.

With the financial help Kalawati received, she was able to pay off her husband's loan and educated and later married off all her children. She is now a grandmother and prays for Rahul Gandhi's well-being every day.

She says she would like to see him happily married but understands that he won't as his dedication is towards the country. "He is married to India and has no time for anyone else, I understand that. So I did not ask him why he had not found a nice girl as yet," she said.

Kalawati had been trying all these years to meet Gandhi again to thank him for all that he has done for her and her children.

"However, I couldn’t get the opportunity. This time with the efforts of the MP Dhanokar, I managed to meet him. I just wanted to thank him from the bottom of my heart. Paying gratitude is also an essential part of life. And I am glad I could convey my feelings to him,” she added.  

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