March 4, 2009 3:07:08 am
Two days after the NCP leader Sharad Pawar criticised Congress decision to go it alone in the general election,Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi held a closed door meeting with the former at Vasantdada Sugar Institute (VSI) in Manjari near here. The meeting lasted for more than two and a half hours
Rahul,who arrived at Pune airport around 10.30 am on Tuesday,had a brief interaction with the workers. He then rushed off to Manjari where he arrived by 11.30 am. When asked about the purpose of his visit and the meeting with Pawar,he declined to comment and rushed inside the VSI complex in his car.
MP Suresh Kalmadi,who accompanied Rahul till the VSI,left for the Congress House in another car. When asked about Rahuls purpose of visit,Kalmadi termed it as a personal visit and declined to comment about the meeting between Rahul and Pawar. Pawar arrived at the VSI campus in a helicopter and people waiting outside the campus,including local Congress leaders,were stopped at the gate of the institute. Pawar returned in his helicopter at 2. 45 pm without talking to the media waiting outside. According to political pundits,the meeting is considered significant in the backdrop of NCPs demanding more Lok Sabha seats than last time in the state.
Rahul also interacted with 300-odd students and faculty of VSI for one hour and discussed about role of youth in politics,environmental issues and his interest in the sugar sector. State Agriculture Minister Balasaheb Thorat and director general of VIT Shivajirao C Deshmukh also accompanied Rahul during his interaction with the students.
Rahul said corruption should be wiped out and youngsters should join politics. I was really inspired by his speech when he mentioned that youngsters can change the political system, said Sanjay Gadekar,a PG student at VSI. Pradeep Mehti,an MSc student,said Rahul stressed that youth Congress was encouraging youth to join politics. Rahul also spoke about the need to protect environment and elicited his interest to know more about the sugar industry, he said.
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