Gorakhpur. After throwing his new favorite phrase around for months, Rahul Gandhi may have finally encountered the “aam aadmi“. Congress Party officials, keen to help their rising star define the much used term, organized a “safari” to enable Rahul to visit some of the most mundane, unexciting parts of UP and see the aam aadmi in his natural habitat.
The Gandhi caravan set out from Lucknow last week with fifteen Land cruisers, two Ambassadors (one of which made it up to 15km from the city before breaking down), a hundred staff and a statue of a leading state politician to conform to the local laws.
The brush with the aam aadmi happened on a dusty road outside Gorakhpur.
“Rahul was looking out of the window with his binoculars,” explained an aide, “then suddenly he shouted – look! look at that adult male… Aam aadmi?!”
Rahul had been drawing blanks all day, explained the aide, once stopping the whole caravan by what turned out to be a “man shaped tree”. Two local “trackers” were quickly dispatched into the fields where they soon found a trail of trampled grass, scuffed earth and fresh paan stains, or “spores”, as they called them.
“Rahul followed 50m behind us with his bodyguards. We told him to be quiet as some common people are scared of politicians. We didn’t know if he’d be hostile, some people in UP still vote BJP, you know, it’s cowboy country for Rahul’s lot,” said Chandra, a “tracker”.
After identifying their target as an “aam aadmi” and allegedly pacifying him with a handful of peanuts and a beedi, the trackers signaled for Rahul to come forward. The Congress General Secretary then had a “brief and highly productive dialogue” with the “highly representative specimen”.
“Rahul is now very clear as to the appearance, behavior, mating behavior and feeding habits of the common man,” said a spokesman, “he even took some pictures for next year’s Lok Sabha calendar.”
Sources inside the Congress point out that Rahul’s exposure to the aam aadmi goes beyond this singular encounter. “He gave ten separate definitions last week,” said a spokeswoman, “I think he’s trying to fill the entire calendar.”
However, one individual observed by Gandhi in his search for the common man turned out to be a one-legged Punjabi Rastafarian who made a living as a professional unicyclist. Aides pointed out that Shumba Solomon Sachdev was a not a helpful example.
Faking News went to the dusty road outside Gorakhpur to talk to the aadmi in question: 48year-old farmer, Hotiram.
“That’s a load of rubbish,” Hotiram told us, “two men came out of the bushes, I said “hello” and they shot me with this.” He handed our correspondent a tranquillizer dart bearing the words “Delhi Zoo” on the shaft. “I woke up to find that chap from the newspapers looking down at me. I didn’t vote Congress last time so I thought it was payback,” he said. After allowing Hotiram a minute to regain his composure, the Amethi MP asked “are you the aam aadmi?”
“I said I supposed I was,” Hotiram told us, “then he started taking pictures and they put this tag on my ankle, aam aadmi 0000000001, it says.” Gandhi’s body guards then gave Hotiram Rs.500 for his troubles, telling him it was “NREGA”.