Focus on rural youth for strong democracy: Azharuddin


New Delhi: The youth in rural and poor regions of the country need to be empowered for a better democracy and a strong nation, MP from Moradabad Mohammed Azharuddin said here Tuesday.

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Azharuddin was speaking at the curtain-raiser of the Indian Student Parliament (ISP) – an initiative where student representatives from across the country gather to channelise energies to strengthen democracy.

“I want you to go to rural areas because that is where the majority of India lives. You will get an idea what the poor want,” said the former skipper of the Indian cricket team.

The second session of the ISP will be hosted in January 2012 in Pune. It is being organised by the MIT School of Governance (MIT-SOG) in association with the ministries of higher and technical education and sports and youth affairs of Maharashtra.

“We have sent invitations to around 25,000 colleges in the country and are expecting participation from 15,000. Around 14,000 students came last year. This time we are expecting around 40,000,” ISP convenor Rahul Karad said.

“Luminaries from various fields, including sports, politics and Bollywood, will address the gathering,” he added.

According to Karad, the ISP is a non-political platform created just to sensitise the youth about democracy and governance.

“A few days ago, an agitation was held here in which the youngsters were the front-runners and that’s the power of youth. They can bring about revolutions,” said social activist Tushar Gandhi, referring to the 12-day fast undertaken by activist Anna Hazare for a stronger Lokpal Bill which garnered nationwide support.

“It was proven by the movement that in a democracy public opinion is higher than parliament and this is why this initiative becomes so important – to restore the trust in parliament,” he added.

MIT-SOG based in Pune, Maharashtra, is the first institute of its kind in India and Asia to initiate a programme in politics and government. The institute is supported by UNESCO Chair for Human Rights, Democracy, Peace and Tolerance, said their website.