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‘Go to rural areas to strengthen Congress’

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Interaction: AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi with the students of Sri Sarada Vidhyalaya Higher Secondary School in Salem on Thursday.
Interaction: AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi with the students of Sri Sarada Vidhyalaya Higher Secondary School in Salem on Thursday.

R. Ilangovan

SALEM: All India General Secretary Rahul Gandhi has asked the youth to go to rural areas to “revive and strengthen” the Congress as a movement in Tamil Nadu.

“Do not worry. Rahul is there to support you in this endeavour and will make your political aspirations realised. Work hard with commitment. Go to villages and serve as “bridges” between the party and people,” the youth leader said while reacting to a volley of questions from youth cadre and a bunch of girl students from Vellalar College of Engineering and Technology, Erode.

Jemima, a final year engineering college student, told The Hindu that Rahulji had promised them a lot. “He has infused confidence in us,” she said.

Her colleagues and other students also pointed out that stiff capitation fees collected by professional colleges had prevented many to pursue higher studies. “If Congress takes a remedial measure, students can continue their higher education and also will support the party,” they pointed out. Rahul promised them that he would take up the issue with the appropriate forum. “We were quite thrilled,” her colleagues Rajalakshmi and Vaishnavi chipped in.

A postgraduate in History but a farmer, R. Rajasekar from Rasipuram pointed out that the top echelons in the state unit had never interacted with cadre at the grassroot level. Rahul, in his reply, had told him that every youth like him should not permit such ‘erosions’ at the grassroot level. Youth should be mobilised and energicised to spread awareness. “If we could do it elsewhere in the country, we can do it in Tamil Nadu too. That is why I am here today amidst you,” he said.

Murugesan, a tea dust seller from Erode wanted to know whether Congress, which has accommodated ministers from DMK at the Centre, would ask for ministerial berths in the State governance. “If you, (meaning youth), back my mission, we can form a government of our own in the State,” was his instant reply.

Rahul also asked the youth to make the rural people aware of the Central Government’s various welfare schemes. “The importance of these schemes and benefits, the poor and needy accrued from them should be taken to the masses without fail,” he insisted.

The closed-door interaction lasted for nearly 45 minutes in which 1,250 youth cadres selected from the parliamentary constituencies of Salem, Namakkal, Erode and parts of Kallakurichi attended.

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