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Rahul lends support to rural India
AHMEDABAD, AUG 11 (Agencies):
Published on 11 Aug. 2010 11:59 PM IST
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Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi spent eight hours in silence at an event for rural transformation in Anand on Tuesday.
Economic Times states participants at the Institute of Rural Management, Anand, (IRMA) were surprised when Gandhi walked in.
Perhaps the only thing the Congress MP from Amethi conveyed through his silence was his growing interest in change in rural governance.
In his typical style, the young Gandhi came without fanfare or prior publicity. The organisers let the word out only towards the evening, when he was comfortably seated in the plane back to New Delhi from Ahmedabad airport.
Only key Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee office-bearers were aware of the visit and they were instructed to keep party workers away. On Tuesday morning, Mr Gandhi’s security guards and local police took the charge of lush green 60-acre IRMA campus.
Gujarat, a stronghold of BJP, was a focus area for Rahul Gandhi who extensively toured the state during the last Lok Sabha elections, terming the exercise undertaken to organise the youth. While its tally dropped from 12 to 11, while BJP’s went up from 14 to 15, the fifth generation Gandhi smartly avoided a war of words with chief minister Narendra Modi when the latter made a veiled attack by referring to him as ‘small fish in an aquarium’.
Keen to leverage his youth image, Mr Gandhi has been to the premier rural management institute last year. He visited IRMA on February 13, 2009, and had an interaction with students and faculty members besides visiting milkman Verghese Kurien at his residence.
He even spent considerable time at National Institute of Design in January, 2009, where he won young hearts by projecting himself as a down-to-earth youth.
However, the impromptu visit on Tuesday was described as purely apolitical and academic. Gandhi approached IRMA authorities at the last moment and took a flight to Ahmedabad.
Talking to ET, IRMA director Vivek Bhandari said: “Changing character of panchayati raj has generated enormous interest among stake holders. The first day of the two-day consultation process started on Tuesday has been productive and we expect rural people and economy to benefit from the outcomes of the deliberations.”

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