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Is opposition scared of a Rahul invasion?

January 22, 2010 00:18 IST

All India Congress Committee general secretary Rahul Gandhi appears to be really needling the opposition.

First it was Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati who was rattled by Rahul's visits to various universities to interact with students in the state,  and now it is Bharatiya Janata Party's Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, who has sent notices to the Indore University for allowing the young leader to spend time on its premises.

Along with this, Goa BJP leader Manohar Parikkar has also got into the act, asking the Congress chief minister to take action against the vice chancellor of the Goa University for allowing Rahul's visit there.

From Madhya Pradesh, Rahul had gone to Goa to continue his series of  interaction with students and visiting university campuses.

Congress leaders have come down heavily on Shivraj Singh Chauhan for his action in sending notices to Indore University. Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister and now AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh said he wanted to know from Chauhan -- how many times he has attended Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (student wing of the BJP) functions on various campuses in the state, how many visits he has made himself to universities to address the students, what action he has taken against the ABVP 'hooligans who killed Prof Sabharwal.'

Calling the CM's remarks and actions a 'nautanki', Digvijay Singh said that the university invited Rahul Gandhi to visit them and added that the notice has no meaning. "The youth are being attracted in great numbers to Rahul Gandhi," he said.

Another AICC general secretary Hari Prasad, who is the Congress in charge of Madhya Pradesh, said that the BJP is a party which 'mixes politics with religion, believes in communal politics and in dividing society, while Rahul Gandhi was merely interacting with the young people.' He dismissed the notice as of no consequence.

It was on a proposed visit to the Kanpur Agricultural University where Rahul Gandhi was invited by the Vice Chancellor that Mayawati had asked the VC to withdraw the permission, and when he had refused to do so, the state government sacked him. Rahul Gandhi did not make the trip to that university, as ultimately there was no permission to hold the meeting.

Over the last couple of years, Rahul Gandhi has been touring the country, visiting university campuses, interacting with the students and holding press conferences in state capitals in a bid to reach out to the younger generation and spread the message of the Congress party.

Apart from that, there are also learning experiences for him as he visits various parts of the country, comes face to face with the problems being faced by the people there.

Reports suggest that Rahul Gandhi's methods of reaching out to the young generation, as well as his bid to enroll youngsters in Youth Congress and the National Students' Union of India (the students' wing of Congress) and to hold elections in these bodies, are being received well by all the sections of the society.

His growing charisma is apparently unnerving the various opposition parties, who are looking at protecting their turf from a Rahul invasion.

Image: Rahul Gandhi

Renu Mittal in New Delhi