Rahul securitymen see red over chappals

Rahul was on a whirlwind day-long tour of Maharashtra ostensibly to connect with the youth, and had interactions with students at Akola, Aurangabad and Pune.

At Akola, which is in Vidarbha – the region where thousands of farmers have committed suicides in the last one decade owing to crop failure and indebtedness – the programme was scheduled at Panjabrao Agriculture University’s auditorium.

The party organisers were worried at Rahul facing protests from some irate students in the form of chappal or shoe throwing. As a result, securitymen and officials turned away chappal wearing students who came to the university to participate in the interaction.

The chappal is a common footware in the “other India,” which Rahul constantly speaks of. Common sense dawned upon authorities later and students waiting at the gate were later allowed entry into the auditorium, but by that time a large number of students had returned. The print and electronic media were also not allowed entry into the auditorium. A brief TV footage showed security personnel collecting some sneakers and belts presumably of students who were asked to remove them.

Rahul, who reached about 30 minutes behind schedule, drove straight from Shivani Airport to the university’s campus. Neither party workers nor ministers were allowed entry into the hall.

During his interaction with about 400 students, Rahul asked youth to join politics in greater numbers. “If you are interested in politics you can join. We need younger generation to lead people,” he said.

He faced a volley of questions ranging from farmers suicides in Vidarbha to the need for a separate Union Budget for agriculture like railways.

Students from Bachelor of Science (Agriculture) final and PG students and those pursuing doctorate asked Rahul about the lack of amenities for rural population to which he said migration is not the solution.

“We cannot change or transform the village into city but surely can provide all necessary facilities to villages without changing their identity to curb migration,” Rahul said.

In Pune, the Congress leader spent an hour interacting with college students, who asked him tough questions about farmer suicides in the state and shared with them his mantra of joining politics.

There are three ways of entering politics, he said. To thunderous applause, he said the first method applied to him: “It depends on your last name.”

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