The Indian city of Gauhati was a hive of activity this week as thousands of members of the country's ruling party, the Indian National Congress, congregated there.
The Indian city of Gauhati was a hive of activity this week as thousands of members of the country's ruling party, the Indian National Congress, congregated there. They were there for the party's Youth Congress which started on 19 November and the All Indian Congress Committee two days later.
SYNOPSIS: The eve before the Youth Congress started well known youth leader, Sanjay Gandhi, flew in to take part. Mr. Gandhi, who's also the son of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was accompanied by the congress president, Mrs. Ambika Soni, other delegates and over-seas visitors. The party received a tumultuous welcome from the huge crowd and were entertained by tribal dancers wearing colourful national costumes.
Mr. Gandhi and Mrs. Soni also inspected the guard of honour provided by youth groups from all over the country and mingled with the young people. Most of the delegates attending the two-day congress were camping in the vicinity and had travelled from all parts of the country to take part. Gauhati's airport is about 18 miles (30 kilometres) from the town centre and as Mr. Gandhi's motorcade made its way into town it was met by enthusiastic cheering crowds and a lineup of welcoming elephants.
The next morning was the inauguration of the congress. An early speaker was party president, Mr. D. Barma, who welcomed the young people to the meeting. the National Congress Party has a membership of about 11 million people and although only about a quarter of a million are active members the annual congress always seems to generate tremendous interest, particularly among the young. About 13,000 young people took part in this year's congress and one of the main points of the agenda was to bring them up to date with recent amendments to India's constitution. Mrs. Gandhi later spoke at the conference, as she was also in Gauhati for the committee meeting on Monday -- the committee being the party's highest policy making body.