Rahul seeks sweat, party has tears

FP

Recollecting the hours after the assassination of Indira Gandhi, Rahul said, "It was the first time in my life that I saw my father (Rajiv Gandhi) crying. He was the bravest person I knew and yet I saw him crying. I was small but I could see my father was broken. The same evening, I saw my father addressing the nation on television. I knew, like me, he was broken inside and even like me he was terrified of what lay in front of him. But when he spoke that night, I felt the small glimmer of hope."

"Last night every single one of you congratulated me. But last night my mother came to my room and she cried. Why did she cry? She cried because she understands that the power so many people seek is actually a poison. She can see what it does to the people around and to the people they love. She could see it but she is not attached to it. The only antidote to this poison is for all of us to see it for what it really is and not become attached to it. We should not chase power. We should only use it to empower voices," said Rahul, drawing standing ovation from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and all AICC delegates. Terming his appointment "a huge honour", Rahul added, "For me, the Congress party is now my life, the people of India are my life, and I will fight for the people of India and for this party."

Earlier, the new Congress vice-president made a hard-hitting speech lambasting the existing "system" which, he said, was designed to keep people with knowledge out and promote mediocrity. "The voices of the billion Indians today are that they want a greater say in government, in politics and in administration. This can't be decided by a handful of people behind closed doors who are not fully accountable to them. They are telling us that India's governmental system is stuck in the past. It has become a system that robs people of their voices, a system that disempowers instead of empowering. Why is it that the CMs need to appoint a teacher? Why is a vice-chancellor chosen when he is far removed from the education system? No matter what state you look at, no matter which political party you look at, why do a handful of people control the entire political space?"

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