Rahul Gandhi - Youth Icon

Rahul GandhiIt is a scene of a sea-change in the rank and file of the Indian Youth Congress (IYC) and the National Students Union of India (NSUI), the youth and students’ wings, respectively, of the Indian National Congress. The reason is the implementation of the vision of ‘Internal democratisation of Rahul Gandhi, current General Secretary of the All India Congress Committee (AICC). Along with the strengthening of internal democracy in the youth and student’s wings of the party, Rahul Gandhi has not lost sight of the long term vision of political empowerment of youth of the country. In the Parliamentary and Assembly elections held recently, a large number of IYC and NSUI members were given opportunity to contest elections and a majority of them have been successful. This has ensured a two pronged rejuvenation and reformation in the IYC. By sending new talent into the parliament and State Assemblies Shri Rahul Gandhi has ensured that the young generation gets a firsthand exposure in the giant laboratory of Indian Democracy.

Rahul Gandhi focussed on the twin systems of open membership and internal elections as the major drivers of this organisational transformation. His method of open membership ensures that people interested in becoming members are inducted directly into the organisation. The aim is to increase the cadre-base and to empower the youth of the country by helping them enter the political sphere. As a pilot, a month-long membership drive was undertaken in Punjab in August-December 2008. The result saw memberships exceed 350,000, a ten-fold increase vis-à-vis the previous membership drive which yielded approximately 30,000 memberships.

A greater arduous task that has been driven by Rahul Gandhi is the process of conducting elections within the organisation, across the country. This was a step never before undertaken in the organisation, and is seen as a bold and decisive move to bring in transparency across the ranks and to give a fair chance to all members. The membership drive in the states was followed by elections at block, district and state levels in the organisation. The election also ensures that all sections of society are adequately represented within a committee. The result, according to the party, has been a younger, fresh lot of people from all sections of society, many amongst them, first-timers in politics. Rahul Gandhi’s drive and vision has, according to the party, succeeded in its primary mission of opening the doors of politics to all who are interested, and ushering in organisational democracy, setting a benchmark across all political organisations.

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