Akola: With hurling of footwear as a
mode of protest against politicians becoming a trend, students
wearing chappals were denied entry for an interaction with
Rahul Gandhi at a local college today.
Securitymen and officials turned away chappal-wearing
students wanting to take part in the interaction at Panjabrao
Krushi Vidyapeeth at the main gate itself by way of precaution
before they could even enter their own college auditorium,
The Congress general secretary is on a day-long visit to
Maharashatra as part of his country-wide tour for connecting
with students and youth.
Authorities later however allowed entry of students
wearing chappals but by that time a large of number of
students had returned.
During the interaction, 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.
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.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Pakistan President Asif Ali
Zardari, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and Jammu and
Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah are among some prominent
political leaders who became victims of shoe protests since
the trend began when an Iraqi journalist hurled a shoe at US
President George W Bush in Baghdad in December 2008.
Rahul, who reached about 30 minutes behind schedule,
drove straight from Shivani Airport to University campus.
Neither party workers nor ministers were allowed entry to the
Rahul at his interaction with about 400 students faced
a volley of questions ranging from farmers suicides in
Vidarbha to the need for a separate Union Budget for
Agriculture like Railways.
He justified a separate budget for Railways, saying
Railways have a large infrastructure.
"The Government is providing more funds for Agriculture
sector growth," he said.
Students from Bachelor of Science (Agriculture) final
and PG students and those pursuing doctorate, asked Rahul
about the lack of amenities for urban 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
Recalling his visit to a village, Rahul said he found
a couple living in sordid conditions with no clothes for their
children. He said he was touched by their plight and decided
to visit more villages to have a feel of village life.
On farmers suicides, Rahul whose meeting with one such
farmer`s widow Kalawati Bandurkar in Yavatmal district two
years ago hogged national limelight, said the number of
suicides has declined. "It is a sad thing that farmers had to
commit suicide," he said.
Rahul also invited students to join Youth Congress and
National Students Union of India (NSUI).
He said the Central and state governments were spending
a lot on welfare schemes but benefits were not reaching to the
last person. "There is a fault in the system and you
(students) will have to rectify it," he added.
Rahul said the money should be spent on infrastructure
and irrigation instead of distributing among individuals
for the works.