What Amethi’s indices tell us about Rahul Gandhi

As he trips all over the place, like a little kid with mummy’s ball of wool, the only trouble Rahul Gandhi‘s weltanschauung continues to get from the media is from sharp political cartoonists. Just two of them, actually, and an unlikely media vehicle called People’s Democracy.

On his latest stop during his discovery of India on SUVs, the Congress general secretary and member of Parliament from Amethi, revealed a customised version of his two-nation theory:

“Just as there are two Indias, one for the rich and the other for the poor, there are two [West] Bengals, one that glitters and is of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the other our Bengal, that of the poor and the backward.”

People’s Democracy, the weekly mouthpiece of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), has hit back (and how), pointing out that Purulia, one of bengal’s poorest districts, was better off than Rae Bareli and Amethi, the pocketboroughs of Family No.1 for decades, on at least six socio-economic indicators:

People below poverty line: Purulia 31%; Rae Bareli-Amethi 54%

Families with electricity: Purulia 29%; Rae Bareli-Amethi 14%

Per capita expenditure: Purulia Rs 461; Rae Bareli-Amethi Rs 385

Vaccinated children: Purulia 84%; Rae Bareli-Amethi 16%

Neo-natal deaths: Purulia 46 per 1,000; Rae Bareli-Amethi 83

Fatality below five years: Purulia 89 per 1,000; Rae Bareli-Amethi 160

For the record, Rahul Gandhi’s great grandfather Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, his father Rajiv Gandhi, his uncle Sanjay Gandhi, and his mother Sonia Gandhi represented Amethi, before he himself was elected from there.

And, for the record, Rahul Gandhi’s grandfather Feroze Gandhi, grandmother Indira Gandhi, uncle Arun Nehru and his mother Sonia Gandhi have represented Rae Bareli since.

Cartoons: courtesy E.P. Unny/ The Indian Express (above); Prasad Radhakrishnan/ Mail Today

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External reading: Pocketed borough