Join politics to cleanse it, Rahul tells students (Roundup)

Monday, January 10, 2011

ALLAHABAD/VARANASI - Calling upon students to join politics irrespective of their professional aspirations, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi Monday said the participation of the youth will not only boost the country’s development, but will also cleanse politics.

Gandhi’s appeal came during his interactive sessions with the students at the Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology (MNNIT) in Allahabad and the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi.

“A student at MNNIT asked the Congress general secretary why he wants the students should join politics despite the fact that it is a dirty affair. To this, he (Gandhi) smiled and said we all should join politics to cleanse it,” said a participant of the interactive session held at the Rajiv Hall on the MNNIT campus.

According to the participants, Gandhi emphasised the role of education in the country and said it was a potent tool that can make India powerful.

“Rahul Gandhi said if proper arrangements are made to impart education, particularly to the youth of the country, then India would surely emerge as very a powerful country,” said another engineering student.

“He (Gandhi) said our country needs to tap its human resource properly in order to give competition to other countries that have developed more technologies than our country despite having less human resource than ours,” he added.

Gandhi’s interaction with students at MNNIT lasted for nearly an hour.

Earlier, interacting with students of the BHU, Gandhi asked them to join politics irrespective of their professional aspirations, saying youths’ participation will boost the country’s development.

Meeting students from various streams at the Swatantra Bhavan on the campus, Gandhi asked them not to sideline their participation in politics for achieving their professional goals, according to those who participated in the meeting.

“He (Gandhi) said that it doesn’t matter if you want to become a doctor, an engineer or opt for any other profession… you all have a role to play in politics that would directly affect the development of the country,” said a student, who was present in the session.

“His main focus was to persuade us to join politics. He told us that development and progress of the nation rest on us and this responsibility can be shouldered by joining the politics,” added the student, who is pursuing his engineering degrees from the BHU.

Media persons were not allowed to enter the Swatantra Bhavan during the session.

Many students, including those having affiliation with the Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha, the students wing of the Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), created a ruckus on the BHU campus before Gandhi’s arrival.

The protestors alleged that only selected students were allowed entry for Gandhi’s programme and that it was sponsored by the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI).

They also claimed that Gandhi was not serious about restoration of the students’ union polls in the BHU and, therefore, his interaction with the students should be viewed merely as a political stunt.

“It’s nothing than a political stunt…Had he (Gandhi) been serious about youth’s involvement in politics, he would have announced restoration of the students’ union,” Babul Prakash, a member of the RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), told reporters.

University officials said Gandhi’s progamme was not “political”.

“It was a programme that was organised by the students’ council of the BHU. It should not be viewed as any political programme,” BHU spokesperson Rajesh Singh told reporters here.

As many as 60 students were detained for demonstrations on the campus before Gandhi’s arrival.

Gandhi also faced protests from the Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha in Allahabad.

Raising slogans like “Go back Rahul” and “We don’t want Rahul here”, several activists waived black flags at Gandhi and even tried to stop his cavalcade in Dhoomanganj area. They were protesting that Gandhi was “not being serious towards restoration of students’ union elections in central universities in Uttar Pradesh”.

Gandhi is on a two-day visit to various districts of Uttar Pradesh to interact with students of colleges and universities.

Gandhi would be visiting Lucknow, Jhansi and Agra Tuesday.

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