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Omar, Rahul win praise on YouTube

india Updated: Jul 25, 2008 17:35 IST

Thousands of users on YouTube, the popular video-sharing website, are toasting two young Indian politicians, one of them seen as a potential prime minister, after they spoke eloquently in a parliamentary debate last week.

Videos of the impassioned speeches by lawmakers Rahul Gandhi and Omar Abdullah, both of whom defended the government in a vote of confidence, were posted on YouTube, eliciting thousands of comments from users.

Abdullah's impromptu, animated speech in defence of secularism has so far been watched by 11,000 users, many of whom praised it as "awesome".

Gandhi, heir of the Nehru-Gandhi family, used the story of a poor woman he met to make a forceful espousal of a nuclear deal he said would give India energy security and, thereby, sustain economic growth.

Gandhi, son of the president of India's ruling Congress party, is said to be popular with a young generation for his boyish looks and close resemblance to his father Rajiv Gandhi, the former prime minister assassinated in 1991.

"The best part of the speech was Rahul's politeness...god bless him," one user known as "jyotikathju" wrote on YouTube, about a man many think could one day become India's prime minister.

The two are among the younger members of the Indian parliament, where as many as 500 lawmakers in a 543-member powerful lower chamber are over the age of 40.

Abdullah, 38, who heads a powerful party in the troubled northern state of Jammu and Kashmir, told Reuters he was overwhelmed by the praise.

He said he was forced to speak impromptu so that opposition lawmakers couldn't interrupt him during the raucous debate.

"I thought if I stopped to read my notes I wouldn't get a chance to be heard," he told Reuters.

"I was disappointed that all these brilliant points I had put together I hadn't been able to use."

Impressed with the young politicians, many YouTube fans urged the young leaders to take charge of the country and infuse Indian politics with young blood.

"...this is the youth in Indian politics, filled with knowledge and passion for India and to really do something for Indians," wrote one contributor, 'sidhu29'.

Another post read: "Our country needs more dynamic educated and young leaders like Omar Abdullah.

"He supported deal for the development of the country and not for any personal interest."