All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Rahul Gandhi began his visit to the State on Monday as part of the organisational elections in the Youth Congress, with an interaction with workers of the youth wing of the party here in the morning.
Amidst elaborate security arrangements supervised by the Special Protection Group (SPG) personnel, Mr. Gandhi's chopper touched down on the makeshift helipad at the Municipal Stadium Ground at Kasaragod at around 11 a.m. He flew from the Kozhikode Airport at Karipur to Kasaragod to attend the interaction with the Youth Congress and Kerala Students' Union office workers, among others. A group of party leaders received Mr. Gandhi and took him to the Chinmaya Thejas Auditorium at Vidyanagar for the interaction.
Mediapersons were not allowed near the helipad and were also barred from entering the auditorium during the interaction. Professionals including doctors and engineers were also invited to the interaction. Mr. Gandhi also spoke to a group of family members of martyred party workers in the region.
According to Youth Congress leaders here, Mr. Gandhi, while addressing the audience, said the organisational election in the Youth Congress in the State would be completed before the local bodies election. Calling on the Youth Congress workers to ensure transparency in the organisational election, Mr. Gandhi also said that though differences of opinion and internal debates were expected in a democratic organisation such as the Youth Congress, its workers should be careful while exercising their freedom of expressing opinions in public. He also said, according to the Youth Congress leaders who attended the interaction, that groupism in any form could not be allowed in the party or in the Youth Congress.
Mr. Gandhi was quoted as saying that neither the Communist Party of India (Marxist) nor its feeder organisations could hold organisational elections in such a democratic way. Saying that violence was the hallmark of the CPI(M), he stressed that the Congress and the Youth Congress always favoured peace. He also advised the young workers to be cautious against possible moves by the CPI(M) to incite violence during the elections. According to the Youth Congress leaders at the interaction, Mr. Gandhi accused the CPI(M) of upholding outdated political ideas.
Mr. Gandhi praised the Youth Congress leadership in the State for the increase in the membership. Assuring that the election would be held in a free and fair manner, he said that any complaint or grievance against the election could be brought to his notice directly. He also said the Kerala Students Union and Youth Congress activists would jointly work for the next local bodies election and the Assembly election in the State.
The AICC general secretary complimented the youth in the State on their commitment and sincerity during his visit to Dubai. He hoped the youth from the State could bring about a positive impact on the country's politics.
Elaborate security arrangements were in place at Kasaragod in view of the visit of Mr. Gandhi. Youth Congress workers and others invitees having special passes issued by the District Special Branch were allowed to enter the auditorium. At around 12:45 p.m., Mr. Gandhi flew to Kalpetta in Wayanad to address a similar interaction there.