"It was a single party government then (during Indira
Gandhi's prime ministership) while today it is a coalition and
so has some compulsions," the 40-year-old Congress general
secretary told college students during an interaction here.
He was asked why the UPA government is "not able to
control inflation and corruption as his grandmother and late
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi could do".
Rahul noted that petroleum prices are governed by
international maket, still steps are being taken to control
prices, said a student, who took part in the programme.
Journalists were not allowed to attend the interaction.
The Congress leader, who faced a volley of questions
during the programme organised by the National Students Union
of India (NSUI), urged the youths to take up politics as a
"mission with a spirit of sacrifice and not as a career".
"Rahul said it should be taken as a sacrifice for the
nation because if we take it as a career it would become a
means to earn money and lead to corruption," the student said.
Asked whether he could have come so far in politics
had he not belonged to a distinguished political family, Rahul
said, "I may or may not have been here".
The students also questioned the need for reservation
for the SC, STs and OBCs in education.
Rahul replied by asking students belonging to the
general category in the hall to raise hands. He said that the
very fact that those belonging to reserved categories have not
been able to attend a session like was enough to underline
that the reservation was "their right" and not a privilege as
termed by a student.
He, however, said that by increasing the number of
seats the interests of the general category students can be
When a student drew attention to the standards of
education and health facilities in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya
Pradesh, Rahul quipped, "Who has elected these governments?"
He said that since both these states have non-Congress
governments he cannot do much but the Centre has initiated
several schemes to ensure better education and it is for the
states to implement them.
The Congress leader also asked the students not to
compare India and China just because of the size of their
populations as in certain areas like human rights and
education, India was better placed than its neighbour.
Stressing that NSUI has thrown open its gates for the
youths to climb up the ladder through electoral process, Rahul
said that this system was better than the nomination process
which was in practice earlier.
In the electoral system, "corruption can be pin
pointed", the Congress leader said adding that the NSUI has
also started leadership development programme.
It was the second day of Rahul's tour to the state to
take part in the NSUI programme for "Talash" (hunt for
leadership in the state) as part of efforts to reach out to
youths in Uttar Pradesh ahead of 2012 assembly elections.
The Congress leader who yesterday took part in
similar programmes in Varanasi and Allahabad arrived in the
state capital last night.
Lucknow: With Congress-led government
facing criticism over issues of corruption and price rise,
Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday defended the party saying it was leading a
coalition government which has its own "compulsions".
First Published: Tuesday, January 11, 2011, 18:34