‘Ageing’ Rahul beckons youth to join politics

March 26th, 2008 - 9:02 pm ICT by admin  

Mangalore, March 26 (IANS) Calling himself “an old person”, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Wednesday exhorted youths to join politics and take up leadership roles to strengthen the Indian democracy. Addressing Youth Congress workers here on the second day of his five-day tour of Karnataka, Gandhi said that at 37 years he was getting old.

He would like the younger generation to enter politics to widen the democratic base and to serve the people to make India a developed country.

“At 37, I am already an old person. But a majority of our over billion-strong people is younger than me, constituting about 70 percent of the population. That is the strength of India. We have to harness the huge potential of our youth power to become a developed nation,” Gandhi told about 500 party workers, many of them in the 20s.

Regretting that internal democracy was lacking in many political parties, Gandhi told the young audience to think of out-of-box solutions to tackle endemic problems such as poverty, illiteracy, discrimination and exploitation.

“You should make a difference by ushering in a refreshing change in the political system by ensuring internal democracy for a healthy socio-economic development. We need to cleanse the political process to provide an honest and efficient governance,” Gandhi noted.

Terming the present-day youth as the future of India, the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family said that if the election process could be regulated and made more effective by a constitutional body like the Election Commission, there was no reason why political parties should not also act with greater transparency and accountability.

Due to inclement weather and unseasonable rains, a scheduled rally and public meeting had to be cancelled. After interacting with party leaders and workers, Gandhi flew to Hubli, about 480 km from Bangalore, to attend other programmes.

Earlier, Gandhi flew into this port city on the west coast by a chopper after an overnight stay at the Rajiv Gandhi national park at Nagarahole on the southern fringes of the rich bio-diverse Western Ghats.

Waking up early, Gandhi went on hour-long safari in the sanctuary, named after his late father, for a breathtaking view of the rich flora and fauna in the reserved forest. He also interacted with environmentalists, social activists and NGOs.

“Rahul Gandhi stayed in the same forest guest house where his grandmother Indira Gandhi did three decades ago (1978),” a Youth Congress spokesman told IANS.

The 53-year-old national park straddles the Mysore-Chamarajanagar districts bordering Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

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