February 23, 2009 1:31:21 am
Gandhi scion avoids media glare,meets young voters
There were no public speeches,slew of promises or road shows. To counter Chief Minister Narendra Modis oratory,the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family adopted a completely different style.
Rather than replying to repeated attacks by Modi during his usual publicity overdrives on his family and the UPA government,the Congress general secretary once again chose to maintain a low profile and kept away from the media glare.
At the end of the week in which Modi addressed two massive Mahila Sammelans at Bhavnagar and Rajkot districts,Rahul presided over a question-answer session with young women voters in the age group between 18 and 35 at the jam-packed Hemu Gadhvi Hall in Rajkot.
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This is Rahuls third visit to Gujarat within a month. In this leg of his visit,he is concentrating on parts of Saurashtra,Kutch and north Gujarat.
For Modis programme,open invitations were given to women through advertisements and hoardings. Glossy invitations cards were printed and a slew of press materials were released at the end of every convention.
On the contrary,Rahuls programmes so far,be it the meeting with fishermen or women,have been organised for selected audiences. Participants for the question/answer session at Rajkot on Sunday were also selected in advance.
Young women voters,who wanted Rahul to answer their questions,had to submit proof of age to get an entry pass. The media was also barred from entering.
At Hemu Gadhvi,Rahul took questions from the crowd that ranged from dynastic politics to reservations in education. To a question on dynastic politics,he said,For the same reason,I have introduced elections for the Youth Congress .
On the reservation policy,he said,We need more schools and colleges. We need to spend much more funds on education than we have been spending so far.
Rahul came down heavily on the BJP and the Congress too,for not giving youngsters much opportunity in politics.
No party,be the BJP or Congress,has paid heed to the voice of youth. I want to organise them. The youth everywhere have a similar opinion and they want to voice them. What is missing is a platform, he said.
Rahul also rued the absence of a strong leadership in the Gujarat Congress.
The audience also bombarded him with questions on his late arrival.
I am late,I agree, he said and extended the session for a couple of minutes more to compensate the long wait of over 2 hours by the audience.
The style and charisma of Rahul certainly took over those who attended his session.
He is simple and thoughtful. India needs young leaders like him, said Jagruti Oza,a college student who attended the programme.
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