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Parties need to be democratic: Rahul
Published on 8 Dec. 2009 1:22 AM IST
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Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi Monday lamented the lack of internal democracy in political parties, saying party organisations needed to be democratised. Gandhi made the remarks during an interaction with the students of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) here. “Democracy has flourished in the country for a long time, but no political party paid heed to the concept of internal democracy. Frequent nomination of office bearers instead of election is the testament of the fact,” said Gandhi. The MP from Amethi also fielded questions from students. Asked about the elevation of Manmohan Singh as the prime minister in 2004, he said: “He was not made the prime minister because he is a Sikh but because he was the most capable person for the post.” A girl student asked if India would ever get a Muslim prime minister, Gandhi replied: “You (the students) need to step up and be leaders.” In his speech, Gandhi called upon the youths to take to politics. “The destiny of the country is shaped by the youth, hence they must fully participate in the political system,” he said. “Participation of people in politics is important... all of you have a vision and we need that,” Gandhi said. Gandhi is on a two-day visit to Uttar Pradesh to boost the membership drive undertaken to re-activate the Youth Congress. He began his trip from Aligarh. He will also visit Etah, Hardoi, Lakhimpur-Kheri, Bahraich, Ambedkar Nagar and Sitapur. Rahul’s presser gets Mayawati’s green signal In a sudden change of tack, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati Monday gave her nod to a press conference by Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, permission for which was withdrawn earlier in the day. The withdrawal of permission had come to light Monday morning when a team of the Special Protection Group (SPG) went to the auditorium of the state tourism directorate hired by the Uttar PradeP Congress Committee (UPCC) as the venue for the press conference to be held on Tuesday. SPG personnel, who had gone to check out security details, were flatly told to leave as there was no mention of Gandhi’s press conference in the requisition for allotment of the auditorium. “The SPG sleuths were told that the allotment had been cancelled, so they should look for some other venue,” UPCC spokesperson Subodh Srivastava told IANS. “Tourism officials declined to give any reason for the cancellation,” he added. State additional cabinet secretary and the chief minister’s principal secretary V.S. Pandey said: “The government has nothing to do with the allotment or the cancellation.” The flurry of media reports seemed to have made the state administration change its mind. Pandey hurriedly convened a press conference to clarify -- “We never cancelled the allotment.” He said: “Some confusion was created initially because UPCC had not mentioned the purpose for which the auditorium was being hired; however, as it stands now, there is no problem and they are free to hold their press conference.” Tourism Director General Avanish Awasthi added: “We were told this morning that the venue has been booked for Rahul Gandhi’s press conference, which meant we will have to hand over the entire place to SPG and therefore shut our directorate for the day on account of the VVIP’s security concerns. But there is no difficulty now.”

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