'They pushed and shoved for a handshake with Rahul'
Unlike the usual studious silence, the auditorium at St Philomena's College in Mysore was roaring with excitement on Friday.
Countless young hands stretched out for one handshake with Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, who was there to connect with them, a mission he has been perusing for the last few years to give the party a facelift.
He commenced his Future of India and Youth Programme in Karnataka at Mysore, 120 km from Bengaluru.
As he has done earlier, Rahul will be touring across the state for two days to connect with the youth and will inspire them to take up political initiatives.
Rahul arrived in Bengaluru early on Friday morning and left for Mysore in a chartered flight at around 9.30 am.
Reportage: Vicky Nanjappa; Photographs: Madhusudhan S R
Image: Rahul at Mandakalli airport in Mysore on Friday morning
Question people in power: Rahul to youth
During his interaction with students at St Philomena's College, Rahul asked the students and other youth, who were in the auditorium, to develop curiosity and that the only way to move forward was by developing a questioning attitude.
"Question yourself, question others and question the people in authority," he said at the hour-long interation.
The media was kept away from the event. The police had a tough time trying to control the thousands of students, who vied with each other to catch Rahul's attention.The excited students were in for a disappointment when they were told that only 600 would be allowed to interact with Rahul.
Image: Congress leaders from Mysore greet Rahul
'Fight terrorism for India's progress'
Opposition Congress leader in the Karnataka assembly Siddaramaiah and several Congress leaders assembled at the Mysore airport to greet Rahul who immediately whisked away to the college.
Rahul prodded the youth to join him (the Congress) if they wanted to develop the country and said the youth could play a vital role in the political arena as well.
The Congress general secretary also asked the youth to join hands and fight terrorism. He said that terrorism must be uprooted from India if the country had to progress.
Image: Students of St Philomena's College with Rahul on Friday
Rahul tours Karnataka with a mission
The students were given a list of dos and donts before the start of the interaction with Rahul.
College principal Leslie Moras had told the students not to ask personal questions to Rahul and focus only on queries pertaining to the future of the youth and education.
After the meet, Rahul left for Shimoga, the home constituency of Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa.
Rahul is on a mission to mobilise the youth to join politics and will hold similar programmes in other states as well.
He also plans to visit the National Students Union of India, the Congress' student wing, to discuss strategies to involve more youngsters in politics.
After Shimoga, Rahul will travel to Hubli on Friday night. On Saturday, he will visit Gulbarga before returning to Bengaluru for a flight to New Delhi.
Image: Rahul poses for a picture with the students