Youth Congress loses battle to shed family, patronage, money

NAT

India is an old country, but a young nation; and like the young everywhere we are impatient. I am young and I too have a dream": Rajiv Gandhi, Joint Session of the US Congress, 1985.

In September 2007 when he was appointed general secretary in charge of the Youth Congress (IYC) and the National Students Union of India (NSUI), Rahul Gandhi, too, had set out with a dream — to end the role of "family, patronage and money" to bring youth into politics. There was to be zero tolerance for people with criminal background.

Three years later, as another organisational reshuffle is in the offing, Rahul's dream remains unrealised with party veterans manipulating internal elections in the Youth Congress and a host of people with questionable background gaining entry into it.

Last month, Youth Congress leader from Bihar Mayank Kumar was arrested in an alleged murder case. Before that, another IYC leader in Sitamarhi, Amit Kumar Tunna, had been arrested under the Arms Act. In the run-up to the Assembly elections in Bihar, when Union Minister Mukul Wasnik was holding a meeting with senior Congress leaders at party headquarters in Patna, Youth Congress activists had locked the main gate preventing them from going out for several hours; they were demanding tickets. Bihar Youth Congress is led by Lallan Kumar, known to be a confidant of former RJD strongman Sadhu Yadav.

In November last year, Mumbai Youth Congress president Sadaf Aboli issued show cause notices to 7 office-bearers and suspended 11 others for indiscipline and violation of rules. Incidentally, Aboli, who was elected MYC president last year, had faced externment proceedings after an attack on a Wilson College professor in 2008.

Asked about it, Aboli told The Indian Express, "There were three cases against me... All three were of political nature... and all these cases were brought to the notice of senior leaders before elections."

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