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Paucity of institutions, not reservation main issue in India: Rahul Gandhi at MANIT

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 12:52:16 PM, Pervez Bari,

Rahul Gandhi posing with students at MANIT in Bhopal

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Bhopal: The Indian Prime Minister in the making Rahul Gandhi trying to establish a live contact with the masses of all hues visited Madhya Pradesh on Monday to have a direct contact with youth. He visited Gwalior, Sagar, Jabalpur and then state capital Bhopal and inter-acted with students to instill and infuse in them their role in India’s development in today’s era after they finish their studies and take up the place in society.


At Bhopal while inter-acting with the students of Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology (MANIT), on the issue of reservation Rahul Gandhi, who is All India Congress Committee (AICC), general secretary, responded that the paucity of institutions and not reservation was the main issue in India. He seemed to be in favour of having a multitude of institutes in the country so that there was no shortage of seats. He said that there should adequate number of quality institutes so that maximum number of students got good education.


“There is no point in discussing reservation, when we do not have enough seats in good institutes to offer,” he observed. Opening up education sector to willing private parties with no commercial interests is necessary for this purpose, he remarked.



The issue of brain drain dominated the conversation, and Rahul Gandhi’s take on the subject was that ‘India’ was not only a geographical concept, but an ideology as well. The notion of an Indian remaining an Indian even when on foreign soil evoked a new line of thought.


When asked why the government was soft on attacks on Indians, mostly of whom are students, in Australia, Gandhi responded by saying that breaking diplomatic ties with Australia on this matter would come at a great cost, and would be a very unwise decision.


He questioned with a humorous touch that when Indians were beaten up in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and other parts of India on a daily basis no one had anything to say in that matter.

On being asked how technocrats could help the nation on a scale that politicians do, he cited the example of Nandan Nilenkani, co-founder and head of Infosys, India’s largest IT services company.

The Congress leader said not only was Nilenkani one of the nation’s greatest technocrat but was also associated with the UID (Unique Identity Authority) project, which is going to be a landmark in India.

Rahul Gandhi mentioned that after democratizing the internal system of Youth Congress and National Students’ Union of India, the membership of these fronts had increased many-fold.


“During the last  one and half years, the cadre has grown from 35,00 t0 3.5 lakh in Punjab, from 40,000 to 7.5 lakh in Gujarat and grown by 40 times to swell to 15 lakh in Tami Nadu,” he revealed to showcase the success of his endeavours to attract youth to the Congress fold.


Overall the vibe in the auditorium was quite lively, with Rahul’s candid words adding to the enthusiasm. The students seemed to be more than content to talk directly to a national leader and discuss their role in India’s future.


The Dr. S. Radhakrishnan Student Activity Centre in MANIT was abuzz with Rahul Gandhi’s arrival. He was quite encouraging in his words and urged the students to rise up to the task of leading India to greater heights. His address was met with great vigour from the students, who also felt the sense of responsibility towards the nation. The students present in the auditorium were quite upbeat in discussing various national issues and posed tough questions to the young leader, who in turn did not disappoint them with politically correct answers.


Rahul Gandhi was greeted by a huge applause to which he quoted :”It takes me about 30 seconds to tell whether it is a dynamic crowd or not, and I can tell that you are a bright dynamic group”.


He started off by informing the students about the ways they can enter mainstream politics. He criticized political institutions on their nominating of candidates rather than democratically electing them within the party. According to him it was ironic that this was prevalent in such a great democracy as that of India. He also pointed out that politics today was a closed caucus.


At the outset the MANIT’s Chairman Board of Governors A. N. Singh welcomed Rahul Gandhi with a bouquet of flowers. The members of Board of Governors Er. Khalid Rauf and Er. Vipin Mullick (both being ex-students of MANIT) were specially present on the occasion. The MANIT Director Dr. R.P. Singh supervised the entire programme.


Rahul Gandhi was accompanied by Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee president Suresh Pachauri, Mandsaur Member of Parliament Meenakshi Natarajan and AICC general secretary B. K. Hariprasad..


Meanwhile, at Gwalior according to media reports Rahul Gandhi said for betterment of the country’s political system it was necessary that elections continue to be conducted impartially and leadership was not imposed but evolves naturally.


Stressing on impartial polls, he reportedly said: “the Congress itself has made a beginning through its youth organizations the National Students’ Union of India and Youth Congress. In Punjab, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, the elections to the party’s youth units were supervised by former Chief Election Commissioner James Michael Lyngdoh and the results were fantastic,” he averred. Claiming that the clean and transparent polls not only led to a spurt in these organizations’ membership, but he added that other political parties -- including the Akali Dal -- were also leaning towards such a system.


In the question-answer session, Gandhi admitted that the educational system not being employment-oriented was a challenge that needs to be addressed.






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