The hope of a ‘future together’ brought Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi and the industry leaders to Kashmir University. And it was a meeting that reaffirmed the hope.
The two-hour interaction on Friday left all sides buoyant.
Gandhi was definitely a hit. The university was impressed, as much by his words as his unorthodox attire — jeans, jacket and the traditional Kashmiri fur cap.
Emphasising his Kashmiri roots, the young Gandhi reaffirmed his pledge to build a long-term relationship with the youth.
“We want to try and see if we can build a future together,” he told the media.
The industry leaders Gandhi had brought — Tata group chairman Ratan Tata, Aditya Birla group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla, HDFC chairman Deepak Parekhamong others — were no less enthused.
Tata, who met CM Omar Abdullah later in the day, was visibly moved. “It has been a real step forward to have a conversation with the great human capital that exists in Kashmir,” he said. “What Mr Gandhi has opened is not a window but a door.”
The industrialists promised students that talent will be promoted.
“Recruitments don’t happen on the basic of region, what counts is merit,” Kumar Mangalam Birla assured them. “We will explore possibility of recruiting youth of Kashmir during our placements.”
“Tourism is one sector where investment can be thought of, but a good tourist season needs peace and stability,” said HDFC chairman Parikh.
A mass communication student Nausheen Maser later said: “Here was a promising leader of young India giving wing to their dreams.”
No concrete offer for panchayats
Some panchayat members of Jammu and Kashmir walked out of a meeting with Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Friday, claiming he had nothing concrete to offer on issues such as security of panchs and sarpanchs, their salaries and rights.
Nearly 3,000 panchayat members, however, stayed put for the interaction with Gandi and told him about their demand for more rights in accordance with the Panchayati Raj Act. Gandhi said the Congress favoured devolution of power, but ruled out any move by the party to push for amendments to the act. “I am nobody to announce amendments… The amendments are a state prerogative.”