The All-India Congress Committee general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Monday emphasised on the importance of internal democracy for the Youth Congress to emerge as a vibrant organisation in his three-stop outreach programme in the State.

In an attempt to connect with the youth with his message, Mr. Gandhi, who holds charge of Youth Congress affairs, wove his closed-door programmes in Kasargod, Kalpetta and Kollam around the three basic themes of internal democracy, freedom to express opinions and entry of youth in politics. In the process, he silenced those who had doubts about the timing of holding elections in the Youth Congress by clearly indicating that the process was on course and would be completed ahead of the local bodies’ elections in the State.

In Kasargod, Mr. Gandhi played on sensibilities of Youth Congress workers of Malabar by criticising the Communist Party of India (Marxist). He told the Youth Congress workers to be wary of the CPI (M)’s attempts to incite violence during the local bodies’ elections and to remain steadfast on the path of peace and democracy. Apart from his interaction with the Youth Congress workers, Mr. Gandhi also found time to meet the families of Congressmen who were victims of political violence from Malabar.

In Kalpetta, Mr. Gandhi’s attempt was to connect with 500-strong tribal youths who were part of the 1500-strong contingent and preferred to give a larger role to women in Kollam, even while asserting that only a democratic process of election can present opportunities to talented youths to come to the forefront of leadership.

Mr. Gandhi assured the delegates that organisational elections would be held in a free, fair and transparent manner. He said differences of opinion and internal debates were natural in a democratic organisation, but the party workers should be cautious while publicly expressing their opinions. Such expression of opinions should not undermine the strength of the organisation, he said.

The 5000-odd delegates at the three venues were mostly prospective candidates drawn from the mandalam committees of the Youth Congress. According to Youth Congress leaders, the programme had been scientifically designed to enable Mr. Gandhi to directly interact with grass-roots workers.

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