Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday evaded a direct reply when students here sought his position on the demand for withdrawal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in Manipur, but said conflicts in the State and other regions of the northeast could be resolved by empowering youth and through discussions.

He said Mahatma Gandhi had inspired him to believe that any conflicts could be resolved through discussion, love and peace, and no problem could be solved using force. “The more power we give to our youngsters, to our people, fewer conflicts we are going to have,” he said.

A Manipur girl studying in the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Technology, Sriperumbudur, asked the question on the AFSPA through videoconference during Mr. Gandhi’s interaction with students at Don Bosco University here. He had the videoconference with students of the Indian Institute of Management, Shillong, and the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Silchar, and then with those of NIT, Agartala, and the Sriperumbudur institute, fielding questions on topics varying from AFSPA withdrawal to India’s progress compared with that of China and other countries.

He said there were two competing ideas when it came to governance. One said governance should be done in a centralised manner by one person. The other was about giving as much power to the people as possible.

He expressed confidence that insurgency in Manipur would be resolved soon as it had been in Assam by empowering people.

Later, Mr. Gandhi took part in interactions with cross-sections of people during his roadshow in 15 places in Nagaon and Sonitpur districts and with women’s representatives in Jorhat town before concluding his two-day visit to the State and returning to Delhi.