People are tired of politics in Tamil Nadu and Youth Congress members, especially women, should build a relationship of trust with people and fight for their rights and needs, said All India Congress Committee general secretary Rahul Gandhi here on Thursday.

“People have grown cynical about politics. You have a responsibility not only to the party but also to the people of Tamil Nadu. We should show to the people that we can provide the leaders whom they can trust and rely upon,” he said addressing the Tamil Nadu Youth Congress elected women office bearers’ convention at the Shrimati Indira Gandhi College here.

In a 15-minute speech, Mr.Gandhi repeatedly sought to drive home the message that the Youth Congress should strengthen the organisation at the panchayat level to build a strong foundation for the party in the State and usher in political change.

“In the last 40 years, the Congress has not believed that we can win alone in Tamil Nadu. That is because we have focussed on building the roof rather the pillars (of the foundation),” he observed.

The Congress provided a big opportunity to women by providing them 50 per cent of the seats in the panchayats. “You should win as many seats as possible in the panchayat elections next year. Once we lay a strong foundation, I could see a Congress woman as the Chief Minister over the next couple of years from there on,” he affirmed.

While it was important to give opportunity to youngsters in the Assembly elections, the focus should be on the panchayats and staying close to the people. “Leaders like Kakkan, Kamaraj and Mahatma Gandhi have made great sacrifices. That should be the spirit of the young Congress men and women. Even five or six people from amongst you, willing to fight for the people, are enough to bring about a political change.” The Women’s Reservation Bill would be passed soon and it would provide a big opportunity for women of the country to enter the Parliament and Assemblies, he said.

Mr.Gandhi also fielded a few questions. On the possibility of the party going it alone in the Assembly elections, he said the first step towards this, not only in Tamil Nadu but anywhere in the country, would be to build the party at the panchayat and wards.

Asked how to ensure that Central schemes reached the people, Mr.Gandhi said under the Constitution the programmes of the Union government have to be implemented through the States. “You should build a structure to press for the implementation of the Central schemes. If we have a government at the State we can quickly implement our programmes,” he said.

Group politics, he said in response to another query, was part of democracy. “We can accept it to a certain extent. But if it damaged the party we have to take action.”

Mr.Gandhi also held a separate a meeting with male Youth Congress office bearers at the St.Joseph’s College in the city. K.V.Thangkabalu, TNCC President, and Youth Congress leaders participated.