Youth feel alienated, says Rahul

In his first address after being appointed vice-president of Congress, Rahul Gandhi on Sunday spoke of the anger of the youth saying they feel alienated from the political class and demanded a complete transformation of the system to give them a role in the political space.

Addressing the AICC session here, he made an emotional speech in which he said "the Congress party is now my life and people of India are my life".

"I will fight for the people of India and for this party. I will fight with everything I have. I invite all of you to stand up and take on this fight," he said to a thunderous applause and a standing ovation from nearly a thousand delegates at the AICC, that included his mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manohan Singh, union ministers and top party leaders.

After the speech, Rahul hugged his mother and later the Prime Minister, while other senior leaders greeted him with some of them giving him a warm embrace.

Echoing the concerns expressed by his mother to the conclave on Friday in which she underscored the need to respond to the "more aspirational and more impatient" youth and urban middle classes, Rahul posed a question: "Why are the youth angry."

"They are angry because they are alienated from the political class. They watch from the sidelines as the powerful drive in lal battis (cars with red beacon). We need to meet their urgent demands of jobs," he said.

Rahul said only a handful of people control the political space and power is highly centralised. "We don't empower people at the bottom. People feel they are outside of the system. That happens because we don't respect knowledge. We respect only positions. If you don't have position, you mean nothing."

"Why people are angry. Because they are alienated from the system. Their voices are trampled upon. All our systems ó justice, education, political, administration ó are designed to keep people with knowledge out. Mediocrity dominates discussions," he said in his 40-minute speech.

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