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Securitymen Prevent Students Wearing Chappals From Meeting Rahul

Akola(Maharashtra): With hurling of footwear as a mode of protest against politicians becoming a trend, students wearing chappals were denied entry for an interaction with Rahul Gandhi at a local college on Tuesday .  Securitymen
PTI September 07, 2010 22:39 IST
PTI
Akola(Maharashtra): With hurling of footwear as a mode of protest against politicians becoming a trend, students wearing chappals were denied entry for an interaction with Rahul Gandhi at a local college on Tuesday .  

Securitymen and officials turned away chappal-wearing students wanting to take part in the interaction at Panjabrao Krushi Vidyapeeth at the main gate itself by way of precaution before they could even enter their own college auditorium, sources said.  

The Congress general secretary is on a day-long visit to Maharashatra as part of his country-wide tour for connecting with students and youth. Authorities later however allowed entry of students wearing chappals but by that time a large of number of students had returned.  

During the interaction, Rahul asked youth to join politics in greater nunbers. "If you are interested in politics you can join. We need younger generation to lead people," he said.  

The print and electronic media were also not allowed entry into the auditorium. A brief TV footage showed security personnel collecting some sneakers and belts presumably of students who were asked to remove them.  

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah are among some prominent political leaders who became victims of shoe protests since the trend began when an Iraqi journalist hurled a shoe at US President George W Bush in Baghdad in December 2008.  

Rahul, who reached about 30 minutes behind schedule, drove straight from Shivani Airport to University campus. Neither party workers nor ministers were allowed entry to the hall.  

Rahul at his interaction with about 400 students faced a volley of questions ranging from farmers suicides in Vidarbha to the need for a separate Union Budget for Agriculture like Railways. He justified a separate budget for Railways, saying Railways have a large infrastructure. "The Government is providing more funds for Agriculture sector growth," he said.

Students from Bachelor of Science (Agriculture) final and PG students and those pursuing doctorate, asked  Rahul about the lack of amenities for urban population to which he said migration is not the solution. "We cannot change or transform the village into city but surely can provide all necessary facilities to villages without changing their identity to curb migration," Rahul said.  

Recalling his visit to a village, Rahul said he found a couple living in sordid conditions with no clothes for their children. He said he was touched by their plight and decided to visit more villages to have a feel of village life.  

On farmers suicides, Rahul whose meeting with one such farmer's widow Kalawati Bandurkar in Yavatmal district two years ago hogged national limelight, said the number of suicides has declined. "It is a sad thing that farmers had to commit suicide," he said. Rahul also invited students to join Youth Congress and National Students Union of India (NSUI).  

He said the Central and state governments were spending a lot on welfare schemes but benefits were not reaching to the last person. "There is a fault in the system and you (students) will have to rectify it," he added. Rahul said the money should be spent on infrastructure and irrigation instead of distributing among individuals for the works. PTI