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Congress works more, but can't market itself: Rahul

January 11, 2014 21:21 IST

The Congress works more but is not good at marketing itself, unlike opposition parties, believes party vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

"Our opposition markets better, works less. We work more but are not good at marketing," he said during a brainstorming session at the National Congress' Consultation for the National Youth and Students' Manifesto in Bangalore.

“The Congress is responsible for bringing about an industrial revolution, apart from the technological and socio political revolutions. Only the Congress can take every Indian together, be they rich or poor, Hindu or Muslim,” Gandhi said.

He added that there was “inadequate space for youth in politics because the process for entry and promotion was not transparent”.

"Does any party ask the people who the candidate from their area should be," he told the participants who were joined by senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh, Union ministers Manish Tewari, Sachin Pilot and Jitendra Singh.

Infosys co-founder and head of Aadhar programme Nandan Nilekani, who is planning to contest the Lok Sabha polls from Bangalore on Congress ticket, was also in attendance.

Gandhi stressed that bringing about a change involved creating institutions and processes that empower people. "Building systems takes time, it is not easy as it looks," he said.

“Elections should not be about filling up Parliament. It should be an exercise to shape the country and ensure that the voices of the people are heard,” Gandhi said.

Gandhi, whose remarks were circulated to the media, said true empowerment needs to be sustainable and long-term.

Responding to a comment made by a participant from West Bengal on the rising cases of atrocities against women, Gandhi said one of the biggest problems in the country is the lack of power women have and the way they are treated.

"If I want to bring about one change, it would be the empowerment of women," he added.

He said true governance is that which provides dignity and respect to people and ensures their voices are heard.

This was the third consultation held by Congress to secure suggestions for its manifesto for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Congress was the only party that could take every Indian together - rich, poor, Hindu or Muslim, he told the close-door session attended by young Indians from varied backgrounds, including students, professionals, innovators, activists, researchers, artists and panchayat representatives.

he Congress Vice-President said the fundamental reason for inadequate space for the youth in politics was the process of selecting candidates.

"The fundamental reason why there is inadequate space for the youth in politics is that the process of entry and promotion are not transparent. The real problem is the process of selecting candidates," he added.

The process of preparing the manifesto by public consultation stems from Congress' "commitment towards ensuring that governance truly reflects people's voice", he said.

Asked why Congress was trying to get connected to people now and had not done in the last ten years of its rule, Tewari said "it is neither late nor do we carry (any) baggage. It is
in time. It is approved."

Tewari said Congress brought transformation in the country through various policies, including Food Security Act and Right to Information Act, and now the party wanted to take it to the next level.

"Therefore, we are in a process of taking the high road to development ... so that India could occupy the rightful place in the comity of nations," he added.

Additional inputs from PTI

Vicky Nanjappa