Rahul takes centrestage, bats for 'aam aadmi'

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New Delhi, Nov 17: Taking the centrestage as AICC General Secretary, Rahul Gandhi today unfolded his political agenda declaring that linking the poor and the backward sections with the domestic and international economic system was the biggest challenge for his generation.

''The common people are the biggest asset of the country. They want a change in the system to build a new resurgent India,'' the 37-year-old MP from Amethi said at the day-long session as his mother and Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh applauded the speech with repeated clappings.

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Emphasising on giving the youth a pivotal role in the party set up, he said the GenNext had the greatest stake in the country's future.

''The leaders of tomorrow will rise from the ranks of the youth and asserted that the Youth Congress and the NSUI should become the vehicles for young Indians having a zeal to serve the country.'' Observing that the young people bring tremendous energy and passion into the organisation, he said their progress should be linked to their performance.

Reading out from a prepared text, both in English and Hindi, the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family, identified the ''aam admi'' as the greatest asset of the country and called for creating opportunities for them in a resurgent India.

In an eight-minute speech, marked with sincerity of purpose, he said the true realisation of India's power lay in igniting the fire of ambition of the country's aspiring millions.''In order for this flame to spread, India needs to be connected within itself and the rest of the world.'' Elaborating, he said India needs to be connected physically through roads, electricity, telecommunication, railways and other infrastructure. ''We also need to connect India intellectually through literacy, education and training. Finally, we need to connect India economically through the creation of jobs and livelihood.'' Striking an emotional chord with the poor and the marginalised, Mr Gandhi said the poor are those who have been denied opportunities to participate in the country's growth process.

''After all what is poverty...a person is poor when he is denied chances and kept out of the mainstream.'' He said the country should be proud not only of its achievements but of the poor--the farmers and the peasants who toil endlessly and selflessly without any gains.'' But despite this, they harbour feelings of respect and loyalty for the country and are willing to make any sacrifice for the tricolour.

Mr Gandhi said the leaders of tomorrow will rise from the ranks of the youth and asserted that the Youth Congress and the NSUI should become the vehicles for young Indians having a zeal to serve the country.

He said during his interactions with Congress workers across the country, he saw a lot of potential, talent, character and a will to serve the country.'' But much needs to be done....if we are to truly become an organisation that represents the youth of our country and if we are to truly develop leaders of whom the nation can be proud.'' In this context, he charted out a two-pronged strategy.'' The first is to build an organisation that is open and relevant to the broad range of young Indians who believe in our values and seek to serve the nation. The second is to build a meritocratic organisation.'' Earlier in his speech, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh endorsed the greater responsibilities entrusted upon Mr Gandhi and expressed confidence that young leaders of the party like him would ''win the minds and affections of our youth and take the Congress to new frontiers and new heights of glory''.

In its political resolution, the AICC also welcomed the appointment of Mr Gandhi as the General Secretary of the Youth Congress and the NSUI.'' The Congress has always been a party of the youth. Energy, vigour and new-age skills of the young Congress men and women are essential to reinvigorate the party and take forward the transformation in the economic, scientific and IT fields.''


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