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"Don't go just after me," Mr Gandhi said at the event.
Mr Gandhi is expected to take over by October as president of the Congress, a post currently held by his mother Sonia Gandhi.
For the last few years, he has served as the party's main face including in the 2014 general election, when Prime Minster Narendra Modi's victory ensued the worst-ever performance for the Congress, which was left with just 44 Lok Sabha seats.
While rebutting talk of the Congress as a family shop, Mr Gandhi acknowledged that the party was in a state of decay ahead of the last general election. "Around 2012, arrogance crept into the Congress party and we stopped having conversations with people," he told students.
Mr Gandhi is often described by critics as a political dilettante, a reputation spurred in part by his abrupt disappearances abroad mid-way through show-stopping political confrontations between the government and opposition parties like his.
"Being a reluctant politician is perspective from 1,000 BJP followers sitting on machines only spreading rumours about me," he said, referring to the BJP's social media network.