Need to cleanse political system: Rahul Gandhi (Second Lead)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

AURANGABAD - Expressing shock at a Maharashtra official being burnt alive by the oil mafia, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi Saturday said there was a need to “cleanse the political system” and urged the youth to join politics to bring about change.

“I am shocked at the Sonawane case. I do not want it to be repeated,” Gandhi told reporters here on the final day of his three-day visit to Maharashtra.

“Corruption is a serious issue in politics. So a two-pronged approach to tackle the menace is necessary,” he said.

“In the short term, we need to act immediately against corruption cases and in the long run there is a need to cleanse the political system,” the Congress MP said.

Nashik additional district collector Yeshwant Sonawane was burnt to death in broad daylight by a gang of petrol robbers when he raided their warehouse near Manmad in Maharashtra Tuesday.

Lamenting the absence of intra-party democracy in political parties, Gandhi said there was a need to change the structure and system and stressed that more youth should enter politics to become agents of change.

Gandhi said the youth were disenchanted with politics and felt that they had no chance to make a mark as they did not have a well-known surname.

“They are reluctant to come forward to join politics. Many even feel that they stand no chance,” Gandhi said.

He appealed to the youth “to give 10 years” of their life to politics if they want to see a change in the country.

“I assure you, after 10 years, you will be proud of your decision, and the country’s politics will take a new direction,” Gandhi said, exhorting educated young men and women to come forward and join the Congress party.

While replying to a question on the huge unaccounted cash stashed in foreign banks for tax evasion, the Congress MP said: “The Indian Youth Congress is ready to ensure that this money can be channelized for public welfare activities.”

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had Tuesday said $462 billion to $1.4 trillion in black money is estimated to have been stashed abroad by Indians and all steps were being taken to bring it back.

Condemning terrorism in all forms, Gandhi said he believed that no religion preaches “killing of innocent people”.

“I have not come across any religion which preaches violence or killing of innocent people. Terrorists kill innocents and I strongly condemn it,” said Gandhi, who lost his father Rajiv Gandhi to a terror attack.

Gandhi is scheduled to wind up his three-day trip to Maharashtra Saturday evening by visiting Thane, Raigad and Satara on the western side of the state.

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