MUMBAI: February 05, 2010. Interaction with Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi for the younger generation present in the packed Bhaidas Hall at Vile Parle in Mumbai on Friday morning, proved to be a mesmerizing occasion. Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi was on a day-long visit to commercial capital of the country on Friday....‘Amchi Mumbai’ got a defining metaphor with transition to ‘Sabki Mumbai’, as Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi effortlessly mingled with all, sharing concerns and dreams for a very strong India, without any distinction of whatsoever, to drive home the fact to one and all that we are Indians first.
The students, gathered at Bhaidas Hall, listened to the young leader with rapt attention and even got their queries - varying from politics to nationalism – unraveled. They all left the venue with an ever lasting impression that Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi was just like them, with no ‘attitude’ or ‘hang-ups’.
Little wonder, soon after the interaction one student described Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandh, as ‘down to earth’ person, while another fellow student was yet to believe that Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi had politely asked him not to address him as ‘Rahul Sirji’, rather simply as Rahul.
“Bilkul hi attitude nahin hai” (He does not have even slightest attitude), was what a young college student remarked soon after he stepped out of Bhaidas Hall. Then, for his fellow companion, “Rahul Gandhi’s interaction was amazing”.
Majority were college students, pursuing law, business management and other disciplines in colleges and other institutions of the commercial capital of the country.
To a query from a student in the gathering that “in politics, big fish eats small fishes” , Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi replied, “If all small fishes gather together, no big fish can do any harm to them”.
As anticipated many youngsters had question as who all could join politics and were wary about criminals being in politics. To this, Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi remarked that anyone with any but clean background can enter politics. “If a glass contains dirty water what we have to do is that we should remove the water and pour into clean water,” remarked Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi.
A girl student Shaina was frank in admitting that earlier she had never ever dreamed to enter politics but after interacting with Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, she felt that even she could join politics, she told the media persons outside the venue.
To a question from a student as how one was an Indian, Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi said about his ancestors hailing from different parts of the country and stressed that in the country, India is for everyone and all are Indians and free to move and settle anywhere.
However, for some present on the occasion, the interaction proved to be short, as a girl student poignantly remarked, “I did not get a chance to put forward a question”, adding that Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi is charming and youthful. She was little upset as more issues of national importance could not be deliberated upon in the interactive session with Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi.
Paucity of time left many craving for more and extended interaction. “Anokha Vyaktitava hai unka” (Charismatic personality he has), remarked a college student about Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi.
Soon after interacting with the students, Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi left for another venue. But, to feel the pulse of Mumbaikars on a working day, he wanted to have first hand experience of the Mumbai’s ‘lifeline’, that is, the local train..
Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi stopped at an ATM of Bank of India, while on way to Andheri railway station. With the money drawn from ATM, he bought train tickets, by standing in a local queue near a ticket window counter. He boarded the local train and interacted with all those abroad in his compartment.
A fellow traveller , Ashok, age 62, told him, “Hum to Mumbai mein rahte hain aur Shiv Sena ke political-stunt ko jante hain” (We live in Mumbai and are aware of political stunts of Shiv Sena).
Later, Ashok told that Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi is a progressive person and looks forward for the progress of the nation. “Rahulji ne mera visiting card liya aur kaha ki mujhse e-mail par likhenge,” (Rahulji took my visiting card and assured to write to me on my e-mail), Ashok said jubilantly.