Seven students from across the country had a "surprise" dinner interaction with Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Delhi on Friday. Over Chinese food, they shared ideas about improving lives and the leader promised that some of them may be included in the party manifesto.
From bringing out Congress manifesto in Braille, setting up gender-neutral toilets to steps for removing inequalities in education system and caste discrimination in society, the conversation touched diverse issues as the youngsters opened up to a "warm and affable" Rahul Gandhi.
The group of students was the first to interact with Rahul Gandhi under his "Apni Baat Rahul ke saath" outreach programme.
Congress has often mocked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for engaging with students, including his recent "Pariksha Pe Charcha" programme and his radio programme ''Mann ki Baat''.
"He is not an 'I know everything' kind of person and he was open to a conversation and discussion in trying to understand things," Deveshwar, a student said.
"Such a friendly humble person, he was actually serving me from his plate. You do not expect such things from a person of this stature. It really breaks the ice between the big politicians and the ''aam aadmi''," another student said.
Abhilash Karri, an IIT student from Mumbai, recalls how surprised they were when they saw a beaming Rahul Gandhi walking into the dining area of an upmarket Chinese food joint in Delhi, late Friday evening. The students had been told that will interact with the Congress party, but not that it will be the party president himself.
The meeting was informally structured with Rahul Gandhi hearing the new age voters on their priorities for themselves and their countrymen.
Among the invitees was an LGBTQ rights activist who suggested gender neutral toilets for the transgenders.
Kunal Ramteke of the prestigious Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) said he discussed caste based discrimination with Rahul Gandhi and described him as one who is sensitive towards the issue. "I hope he will implement suggestions to end caste based discrimination.... His talk was very inspirational," he said.
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