Gandhi Heir Stumps for Poor

Rahul Gandhi sheds aristocratic image to reach out to India's 700m rural poor
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2009 4:24 AM CDT
Workers carry a portrait of India's ruling Congress party President Sonia Gandhi, left, and party leader Rahul Gandhi after an election rally in New Delhi yesterday.   (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
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(Newser) – The heir to India's foremost political dynasty is reaching out to the country's dispossessed as the nation's election enters its final phase, the Guardian reports. Rahul Gandhi—widely seen as the successor to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh if their Congress party emerges triumphant—has been greeted by enthusiastic crowds in India's villages as he makes forceful speeches calling for reforms to help the rural poor.

"The fact that the Indian political system tends to be about who you know and who your brother is, that is just a fact of life," Gandhi said. "I want to change that. I consider it an honor and my duty to try to change the system of which I am the result. It is ironic, but that's how it is."