Rahul’s tours focus on membership drive, training of youth

April 28th, 2008 - 12:06 pm ICT by admin  

By Rakesh Mohan Chaturvedi
Kanker (Chhattisgarh), April 28 (IANS) While Congress MP Rahul Gandhi’s attempts to woo the Dalit and tribal vote bank have been in the media glare, what is less known is that he has been strengthening the party’s youth wings as part of a meticulous and well-planned strategy during his visits across India. “It is true that on these visits, membership drive for both the Indian Youth Congress (IYC) and the National Students Union of India (NSUI) is a major focus. At the same time, we are holding programmes to train new members. A talent hunt is on too,” Nadeem Javed, NSUI national president, told IANS.

Even as the young MP is busy dining and spending a night with a Dalit or tribal family in some far-flung area, a select team is simultaneously working on this three-pronged strategy to recruit more members to the youth cadre of the party, imparting some basic training to them (along with veteran members) and also keeping an eye on the talented ones who can be groomed for a more important role in the future.

According to official figures, about 75 percent of the Indian population is under 35 years of age. Tapping into this vast resource of young talent can bring a rich electoral harvest to any political party.

As part of this plan, Rahul always holds some sessions to interact with youth during each tour. Other than a pep talk to get cracking, it also entails some tips on how to go about doing their duty.

“Rahul Gandhi’s visits to the rural and tribal areas encourage local youth to come forward. They see a new hope and a platform to perform,” said Manmohan, an IYC member from Himachal Pradesh.

More than the NSUI, it is the IYC that goes into over-drive for increasing party membership during these visits.

“For the NSUI the membership process is usually high at the beginning of an academic session. But for the IYC the process continues round the year,” said Akash Tiwari, an NSUI leader from Raipur.

Rahul himself has been candid about his move to court the younger generation. “We aim to include as many youngsters as possible,” he told reporters during an interaction.

Like all parties, the Congress has also kept the membership fee nominal at Re 1. “Most of the time we pay from our own pocket to make new members,” one of the student leaders said.

However, Rahul has issued strict instructions to both the youth wings to avoid making ‘idle’ members who join but stay inactive.

The Congress hopes that this young cadre will slog in the coming Lok Sabha elections for the party.

“Nobody can match the enthusiasm and dedication of these members,” said Vikas Upadhyay, state president of the NSUI, Chhatisgarh. Upadhyay himself worked till 3 a.m. on Saturday, putting up NSUI flags, banners and hoardings to welcome Rahul Gandhi.

Rahul’s visit to an area has a positive impact on the locals.

“His massive security, the helicopters, his small talk and shaking hands with a few. All this is unforgettable for a young person from such a backward area,” said a youth congress member.

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