Rahul fires up Congress workers

Uses AICC platform to promulgate 'change'

Rahul fires up Congress workers

A day after being entrusted with the Congress' Lok Sabha election campaign, vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Friday declared that he meant business, exhorting party workers to take on the opposition challenge as “warriors” and not stop till the “battle is won”.

Taking the BJP’s prime ministerial aspirant Narendra Modi head-on, Gandhi in a stirring speech at the day-long all India Congress Committee (AICC) meeting here said those yearning for a “Congress-free India” would never realise their dreams and would be destroyed.

Gandhi’s 45-minute speech, which saw an adrenaline rush among Congress workers, also put an end to the ongoing debate on projecting him as the prime ministerial candidate. He dubbed the upcoming polls as “election of the youth” and promised to give opportunity to youngsters.

Displaying toughness and aggression, Rahul highlighted the change the Congress was undergoing as it took up newer challenges in these changing times. 

Taking a leaf out of the US primaries, Gandhi said 15 candidates for the Lok Sabha elections would be directly chosen by the people.

In a bid to encourage participation of women in politics, Gandhi said he dreamt of a day when 50 per cent of the AICC delegates would be women.  “I also wish that 50 per cent of our chief ministers will be women,” he said. The comments were received with roars of approval from the women delegates. Gandhi also ruled out making party-hoppers candidates in any elections and stressed on the importance of the Congress worker. “Elections must be fought by our loyal party cadres,” he said.

The 43-year-old leader told the AICC delegates that the Congress manifesto, which had so far been drafted by a handful of leaders behind closed doors, has been thrown open to the common man. “We will take the views of Dalits, tribals, workers, industrialists, youth, women and NGOs” for drafting the manifesto, he told the delegates, to thunderous applause.

“The change taking place around us is unstoppable. The imperative before us is not whether to change but when and how to change,” he said.

The day-long session also saw demands from leaders to give prominence to youth in the Congress. 

“The Congress should consider fielding at least 272 candidates below 35 years in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls,” said Finance Minister P Chidambaram, coining the slogan ‘Young India, Empowered India.’

In his brief address, technocrat Sam Pitroda also stressed that the country needed leadership in its 40s  and not 60s.

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