It was a Rahul show

It was a Rahul show

The AICC meeting at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium here on Friday was a Rahul Gandhi show all along. He cajoled, rebuked and inspired Congress workers with his remarks throughout the day. His 45-minute address, however, sent the message loud and clear.

The message for the Opposition was clear: You cannot finish the Congress. The message to the cadre was clearer: Do not lose courage and stop not till the battle is won.

The day began with the jam-packed venue reverberating with cries of Rahul being made the prime minister. The chorus was so loud and persistent that Congress president Sonia Gandhi made it clear that the decision of the Congress Working Committee on not making Rahul the prime ministerial candidate was final.

This did not go down well with the party workers who continued to raise slogans. It was left to Rahul to calm the cadre. “I will clearly enunciate what I think of this issue in my speech later,” Rahul said.

Leader after leader spoke about shifting the focus of the party on the youth. Finance Minister P Chidambaram wanted the Congress to field 272 candidates below the age of 35 in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. AICC secretary Priya Dutt wanted a three-term cap on Lok Sabha members.

Pramod Tiwari, Congress leader from Uttar Pradesh, said time has come for the elders to bless the young and appealed the Congress president to give Rahul a greater role in the party. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also said Rahul would inject fresh vigor into the Congress.Almost 90 per cent of those who spoke at the AICC meeting were youngsters.

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