'The rot is in the political structure. We have to change that'
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said political parties lack democracy and there was a "rot" in the political structure which needs to be changed by opening the doors of the system.
"The rot is in the political structure. We have to change that. My whole attention is towards that," he said.
"The answer lies in opening the doors of political system," Rahul, who is on the last leg of his three-day visit to Maharashtra, told media persons in Aurangabad.
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'My work is to repair the political system'
On the issue of corruption, he said, "Corruption is taking place because doors of the political system are closed and the average person who wants to do good is not allowed in."
"Common people feel politics is corrupt...it is not working the way it should work. We believe the only way to change this is to look at the way parties are structured," he said.
Rahul said he was extremely happy to see the response we are getting in Youth Congress.
To a query on his party fielding him as Prime Minister in next polls, Rahul said, "This is your assumption, not my assumption. My assumption and my work is to repair the political system."
'We in Congress have taken stern action against corruption'
The AICC General Secretary said he was shocked by the murder of Additional Collector Yashwant Sonawane by the oil mafia and said steps should be taken that cases like these are not repeated.
"We need to look into why this happening and we need to ensure this does not happen again," he said.
To a query on a report by retired IAS officer Leena Mehendale, who had filed a detailed report on fuel adulteration in the state 15 years ago, Gandhi said, "The way I see this is that corruption is a serious issue."
"We have to look into this issue in a collective way. Stringent action against corruption is needed. Punishment should be within six months, instead of 20 years," he said, adding, "We in Congress have taken stern action against corruption".
Image: Retired IAS officer Leena Mehendale
'Give me ten years of your life'
On the issue of black money stashed abroad, he said, "We should put in as much efforts as possible to ensure that what is India's money, what is people's money, comes back."
To a query, Gandhi said, "I never made connection between coalition and price rise."
In the political process, he said, "The real challenge for us is to open the doors to youngsters. We have started a democratic process in the Youth Congress. There is not a single nominated person. This is the way ahead."
The Congress leader said he "knew there are many youngsters who look at politics and say that is not for us."
"My request to youngsters who are educated and talented is to take a look at Youth Congress website. Come and help me build the structure," he said.
"I need ten years of your life. Give me ten years of your life and after that you will be very proud."
'The work I am doing... its effect will be felt in five, 10 years'
On his 'so-called image building exercise', Gandhi said, "People say when I meet farmer's widow Kalawati (in Vidarbha), or go to a UP village or take a train ride (in Mumbai), it creates an image."
"You don't understand what I understand and learn by going there. I go among people henceforth, I will go among them even more. I get to learn what is happening on the ground," he said.
"The work I am doing... its effect will be felt in five, 10 years," Gandhi said, adding, "Youth who so far never came to politics, have now come here in thousands," he said.
"There has been enough talk. Now what is needed is work," he said, adding "we have to start looking at the system. What is there is the system which is creating the problem".
Changes in political system is coming from the grassroots and in the panchayat system...a new youth is being created, he said.