Rahul Gandhi's emotional speech moves many party leaders

Jaipur, Jan 20 (IANS) Rahul Gandhi's emotionally charged speech after being appointed Congress vice president left many moist eyes in the jam-packed Birla Auditorium hosting the AICC session here Sunday.

In a moving speech that won a standing ovation, Gandhi, 42, recalled how his mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi came to his room and cried Saturday night after the party named him the new vice president.

"Why did she cry?... she understands that the power many people seek is poison...She can see it because she is not attached to it (power)," said Gandhi.

"We should not chase power for the attributes of power, we should only use it to empower the voiceles"," he added, amid thundering applause of over 1,500 delegates inside the 1,300-capacity Birla Auditorium.

Gandhi then talked about "hope" and how after the assassination of his grandmother and prime minister Indira Gandhi, the family was left shattered.

He said he used to play badminton at his grandmother's house with two of her security guards who were "friends", and that the sport gave him "balance in a complicated world".

"I was taught the game by two policemen who protected my grandmother, and who killed her, destroying that balance," said Gandhi as the crowd listened in rapt attention.

"In the evening my father addressed the nation. He was terrified of what lay ahead of him but I saw a glimmer of hope and it is that hope which has brought our nation here today," said Gandhi referring to the country's development and the current status of an emerging superpower.

Concluding his speech, the Gandhi scion asserted: "Congress party is now my life. The people of India are now my life, and I will fight for the people of India and for this party."

As Gandhi went back to his seat on the podium, he hugged his mother. Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who was seated behind him, too hugged him.

Many senior leaders on the dais had moist eyes. The party's chief spokesperson Janardan Dwivedi spoke with a lump in his throat as he invited Sonia Gandhi for her valedictory address.

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