All India Congress Committee general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday continued his engagement with the youth of Tamil Nadu.
On the second day of his visit to the State, Mr. Gandhi began the day with an interaction with young farmers and members of the youth wing of the party in Thanjavur. He then went to Thirukoilur in Villupuram district to address over 1,000 volunteers of the Youth Congress from Villupuram, Kallakurichi, Cuddalore, Chidambaram and Arani.
His next stop was Vellore. Here he spoke to young doctors and medical students of the Christian Medical College (CMC) and then to office-bearers and members of the local unit of the Youth Congress.
In Chennai, Mr. Gandhi interacted with 800 Anna University engineering students. He wound up his day with a visit to the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee’s headquarters at Satyamurti Bhavan. There he met leaders and AICC members from the State.
He expanded on the idea of how the youth would be given their due share in the Congress. In Thanjavur, he assured the gathering that there would be no place for money, power or influence in the Congress hereafter. Leaders would be elected from among the youth and anyone could contest organisational elections.
In Thirukoilur, Mr. Gandhi underscored the need to harness the energy of the youth, and said the Youth Congress had embarked on such an endeavour. In each ward there would be five office-bearers; even if three of them worked sincerely voters would be attracted to the party.
Azara Sneha Singh, a medical student at CMC, told The Hindu that when the students asked the AICC general secretary about his views on reservation in education and employment, he replied: “To have it or not... it’s not important, what is important is every one should get seats, opportunity”.
At Anna University in Chennai, Mr. Gandhi spoke of the existence of two ‘Indias’ – one lacking in basic amenities and the other full of opportunities. He made a call to bridge the divide.
Age limits were fixed for participants in many of his meetings – 35 for workers of the Youth Congress and 45 for farmers.
In Thanjavur, 68-year-old Mani Shankar Aiyar, former Union Minister, had to stand outside the meeting hall.
Mr. Aiyar told the press that the older generation had failed the Congress in Tamil Nadu for the past 42 years. Now a new effort had been made by Mr. Gandhi to mobilise the youth. He added that these youth would see the Congress at Fort St. George (which is currently the seat of government in Chennai).