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Updated: December 20, 2010 02:34 IST

Corruption is the symptom of closed and opaque economic and political structures, says Rahul

Special Correspondent
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Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi addresses the 83rd Plenary Session of the party, in New Delhi, on Sunday. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt
The Hindu Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi addresses the 83rd Plenary Session of the party, in New Delhi, on Sunday. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

India will not be a nation until the aam aadmi's “progress is based not on who he knows but on what he knows,” Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi told cheering delegates at the 83rd plenary session at Burari here on Sunday. On a day when his mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi declared war on corruption, Mr. Gandhi's devastating critique of the “system” took the audience by surprise. “Corruption is the symptom of closed and opaque economic and political structures.”

In a speech that sidestepped WikiLeaks about a conversation he had in July 2009 with U.S. Ambassador Timothy Roemer about extremist groups in India, Mr. Gandhi concentrated on the core issue of the day — how to build a nation — and system — which could unleash the full potential of what he described as India's greatest resource, its people.

Pointing out that for opportunity and connectivity to transform India, accountability and transparency were paramount, he described those who could be described as the aam aadmi: “The aam aadmi in India is that person who does not have a connection to the system. Whether he is poor or rich, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or Christian, educated or uneducated, if he is not connected to the system, he is an aam aadmi.” The examples Mr. Gandhi cited ranged from a tribal boy in Niyamgiri who is thrown off his land without justice, to the young professional in Bangalore who can't get her child into a good school, to the university topper in Shillong who cannot get a job because he doesn't know the right people, to the poor carpenter from Basti living in the slums of Mumbai who did not get an education for lack of opportunity.

To the party delegates, many coming from far flung corners of the country, largely ignored by the party leadership, Mr. Gandhi's words clearly struck a chord at a time when the party is reeling from the impact of a string of scams and electoral setbacks.

He pointed out that there was a clear “relationship between growth and the distribution of opportunity,” something that could best be described as “inclusive growth.” He also spoke of the need to make education accessible to the poorest of the poor. “Our schools and universities need to work as a network connected to jobs, research and development and the society at large. This opening up will form the education backbone of our country.”

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As long as Corruption exists in developing world, USA need not worry about its dollar value going down since all the dirty money is stored in dollars thru Hawala. Thanks a lot to Indian politicians for keeping up Americans' purchasing power.

from:  R. Sridhar
Posted on: Dec 22, 2010 at 00:54 IST

Mr. Rahul, why you said no words when a Congress woman legislator was shown on TV throwing a pot of plants on the policemen?

from:  D. Chandramouli
Posted on: Dec 21, 2010 at 19:41 IST

let us see how the government is going to take severe action against
corrupted people in the days to come

from:  l.s.mohandoss
Posted on: Dec 21, 2010 at 01:50 IST

It's good to see that you are talking about corruption. From the ages Congress has been a symbol of corruption in the nation and in my state of Andhra Pradesh. Recently one of our late CM made 1000's of Crores of rupees after he becomes the CM. Neither you nor the Congress president did take any action during his tenure and the common belief was the party president allowed and accepted his corrupt practices. His son who now owns all that wealth is currently out of control and no agency to enquire the way he acquired his wealth. Similarly you and your party have lost control on other politicians who make very provocative statements and encourage students to destroy public property and has no respect for the law. You have to help bring laws to control such unscrupulous politicians who has no respect for law and order, who become sickeningly wealthy and makes statements that rages the sentiments of masses in a wrong way.

from:  Kumar
Posted on: Dec 20, 2010 at 22:28 IST

Fine words, Mr. Gandhi. However these statements are nothing new. Time to see concrete action now.

from:  Vaishnav
Posted on: Dec 20, 2010 at 22:23 IST

What every one omitts is that lack of oppurtunity is not the root cause. Cconsious, systamatic denial of them is.

from:  Dr Bharath
Posted on: Dec 20, 2010 at 22:07 IST

More lecturing on corruption! Opaque political structures? When will Mr Rahul Gandhi start acting to change the 'system' -- at least within the Congress party?

from:  Praveen
Posted on: Dec 20, 2010 at 21:28 IST

The 'aam aadmis' of India will prosper if the politicians and governments are sincere in their concern for the people and honest in their utterances. If the above is absent, what use is of having high academic qualifications?

from:  M V Rangaraajan
Posted on: Dec 20, 2010 at 20:33 IST

mr rahul ji you are very much right that corruption is due to opeque politics and economy.it is well known fact. however very politly what you have sincearly did for swiss bank acounts,common wealth games and 2g scam.please come clean it is a question of our nation.

from:  barun kumar
Posted on: Dec 20, 2010 at 18:26 IST

He does not ahve the political maturity nor knowledge of things happening around. Reading out prepared speech will not usurp any reaction. He can address problems as others but never had any solution to it., He may call himself a sepoy of needy people but never really did anything. Going to hut and travel in sleeper calss or mere gimmicks.India has been ruled by congress for nearly 90% of the epriod post indepedence. Imagine who is perpetartors of all the happening and scams. Congress cannot distance itself from scam as if it is an individual who did it.

from:  v sundara raman
Posted on: Dec 20, 2010 at 17:25 IST

No wonder every body talks about aam admi and corruption why Mrs Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi did not prevent 2G scam and continued their association with DMK the party that has institutionalized corruption after Kamaraj's era.

from:  Dr. T.H.Rao
Posted on: Dec 20, 2010 at 14:26 IST

Seeing a great leader with a vision but getting along with party workers to the grassroot level should be given atmost importance

from:  suthakar
Posted on: Dec 20, 2010 at 12:28 IST

Who is to blame for this? The Congress Party which ruled for most of the 63 years after independence, made sure that people remained uneducated. There are a large number of MPs and MLAs who do not know as to what is the CONSTITUTION.If they knew about it, they would not behave as they did in the LOK SABHA recently.Even now the onus of RTE has been put on the States while the Centre is merrily levying an Education Cess.Are not the taxes collected enough to support our education system.Tomorrow we may have a highway cess, defence cess,railway cess and the taxes collected will just be enough to fill the pockets of the Congress MPs.Our whole financial system reeks of mismanagement and corruption.

from:  S N IYER
Posted on: Dec 20, 2010 at 06:55 IST
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