All India Congress Committee general secretary Rahul Gandhi said here on Saturday that there were 1,000 people supporting him when around 15 Shiva Sena activists were standing with black flags in front of the railway station during his Mumbai visit on Friday.
Mr. Gandhi made this observation after a surprise visit to the venue of the three-day workshop for elected office bearers of the State committee of the Kerala Students Union (KSU) at Edathala near Aluva here. The observation was in response to a question by a young activist whether violence should be countered with violence itself.
Taking a dig at the black flag protests by Shiv Sena activists, Mr. Gandhi said that "when somebody acts violently, they act out of fear. If you get more organised, then there will be no violence against you." He also said that the nation belongs to "all of us".
Pointing out that there were 1,000 people raising their hands for him in Mumbai when 15 people were waiting outside with black flags, Mr. Gandhi said that violence by "those opposing you should not be defeated physically but by strengthening the organisation."
Urging the KSU activists to "get closer to people especially the student community", Mr. Gandhi said that "if you get more organised, then there will be no violence against you."
He exhorted the youth to fight for the causes of the common man by understanding their issues. Explaining that the youth organisations of the party needed better people to strengthen its base, Mr. Gandhi appealed to the youth to stand united for the welfare of the nation. He said that the students union should have more presence in the grassroots level. Mr. Gandhi’s visit took the party leaders and authorities by surprise. Even the State leadership of the party was unaware of his itinerary.