Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi interacted Saturday with rickshaw pullers and auto drivers and later prayed at the famous Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi, on the second day of his visit to Uttar Pradesh.
The Congress leader flew to Varanasi around noon and drove to the Cantonment railway station amid tight security.
As his cavalcade drove through the lanes of the temple city, people lined up on the roadside to catch a glimpse of him. Gandhi was accompanied by party general secretary Madhusudan Mistry and union minister Oscar Fernandes. Gandhi spoke to the rickshaw pullers and enquired about health and insurance facilities during the 90-minute interaction.
The rickshaw pullers told Gandhi about their problems, especially harassment at the hands of police.
During the interaction, Gandhi also enquired from Fernandes on the social schemes for the unorganised sector. Fernandes said he will ask the Uttar Pradesh government to provide for insurance and medical benefits to families living below the poverty line. Gandhi later prayed at the Kashi Vishwanath temple. He performed a "rudra abhishek" (special puja to Lord Shiva). The Congress leader also held a brief meeting with Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma in Lucknow.
A public rally had been scheduled by the state unit of Congress at Mirzapur but overnight rains leading to water logging at the rally venue thereby forcing its cancellation.