Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Friday gave the call for a Yuva Bharat, Sashakat Bharat (young India, empowered India) at the All India Congress Committee session here, while urging the party to give at least half the seats in the coming Lok Sabha elections to youth under 35.

This would be the ideal way of reaching out to youth who comprised nearly 68 per cent of the electorate, he said..

The senior Congress leader appealed to party president Sonia Gandhi to consider his “radical idea.”

On a day when the clamour was for shifting the power centre to youth and for Rahul Gandhi to lead the charge in the general election, Mr. Chidambaram exuded confidence that the UPA would return to power.

The Minister criticised the BJP as a power hungry party, manifesting in its 272+ approach. On the other hand, he said, the Congress mission was to “unite and serve, not to divide and rule.”

Mr. Chidambaram listed the achievements of the UPA government over the past decade and claimed that it had recorded “tremendous growth.”

His address was widely appreciated by Congress leaders at the venue. Kancheepuram DCC president S.L.N.S. Vijayakumar said bringing in youth would infuse greater energy into the party.

“I am a grandson of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister C.N. Annadurai and still it has taken me 25 years of service in the party to reach just up to the district stage. I am confident that providing greater opportunity to youngsters would invigorate the party,” he said.

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