As elections come near, parties are prepping up to woo various sections of the society. Taking lessons from Narendra Modi’s “Chai pe Charcha” in the 2014 election campaign, Congress President Rahul Gandhi has started “Apni Baat Rahul ke saath”, where he is meeting different people to discuss about the issues they face.
News Agency PTI has reported that under this interaction, Rahul Gandhi met up with seven students from across India in Delhi, over dinner. The student activists, who were from Delhi, Assam, Assam, Maharashtra, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh, were brought to Delhi for an interaction with the Congress Party, but were pleasantly surprised to find Rahul Gandhi himself turning up for the interaction.
Among the issues discussed were caste based discrimination, atrocities on Dalits, girl education in Muslim community, affordable and accessible education, reservations and LGBTQ issues.
Abhilash Karri, an IIT student from Mumbai, suggested the party should come out with its manifesto in Braille. Rohan Reje Mathews, an engineering student in Dharwaad and LGBTQ activist spoke to Mr. Gandhi on LGBTQ issues and talked about the violence faced by trans people, and that the government should pay attention to the LGBTQ community. He also suggested to have gender neutral toilets for trans people, instead of separate third gender toilets. “Our concerns are surrogacy laws, civil marriage laws and gender neutral bathrooms and not third gender bathrooms. We cannot be body shamed any longer. Trans-men need to be given more attention,” he told PTI.
Mr. Gandhi promised him that he would put him in touch with those involved in drafting the manifesto for the Congress party. The students seemed impressed after meeting Rahul Gandhi, though it remains to be seen how much of it would translate into actual work and find its way into the Congress manifesto, or will it just remain a political gimmick.