Despite various odds, he led a successful membership drive of the Youth Congress, personally registering highest number of members from the Valley. Here, in an interview with Tauseef Mir, Yasir Pandit talks about the membership drive and other Congress related issues.
You led a successful membership drive.
It was a great challenge but I lived up to it. It involved a lot of hardwork and convincing. We were lucky Rahuji arrived in the state at the right time. His visit also galvanised the youths.
How did you come into politics?
I always knew I had to be in politics, even as a school kid. Late Sadiq Sahab, the former Chief Minister, was our neighbour and my family was a big fan of his. Besides, I always liked to do social service. I wanted to know about people’s problems and see if I could solve them. Politics to me is a calling.
What are your main objectives as a politician?
Quite a few. We live in a system where corruption is rampant and economic backwardness is a major issue. We need a work culture and we need to develop at a fast pace to catch up with the rest of the world or we’ll be left far behind. Unemployment is a major issue. Time is running out and we need to wake up. We can’t sleep over the hard realities glaring at us. I’ve committed myself to the nation and I’ll stay committed as long as I live.
You often say Rahul Gandhi is your role model. How does he inspire you?
I think he is inspiration personified. He leads by example, working tirelessly round the clock all over the country, reaching out to the poorest of the poor. He is not publicity hungry and it is the media that keeps hounding him. He has given the youth of this nation a strong [latform by making Youth Congress and NSUI really vibrant. He has created an atmosphere wherein you don’t need to have Godfathers to be able to grow in Congress. Youths all over the country adore him for his honesty, forthrightness and vision. The Youth Congress numbers are swelling day by day and it is the charisma of Rahulji and his bunch of dynamic aides who work in different capacities.
If Rahul Gandhi becomes PM, how is it going to change India?
Look, despite coming from Gandhi family, Rahulji works like a foot soldier for the party. This is a very special attribute and this is one of the many things that make him an ideal candidate for prime ministership. And the fact that he rallies the youth around him makes him someone who can unite the nation and then lead. And mark my words, if ever we’ll have absolute communal harmony in the country, it will come from his attitude and policies. He will be a nemesis to the communal forces and that is the need of the hour.
Rahul Gandhi has been strongly backing NREGA and RTI.
Yes and that is because a common man has to be empowered enough to take care of his welfare. Bureaucracy and other levels have to be absolutely transparent to empower the aam aadmi and that is the idea behind all these schemes and you can already see the kind of impact all over the country.
Rahul’s recent visit to the State was hailed as highly successful.
Yes, it was. Youths came in droves to meet him and he was charismatic as always, striking a chord with them straightaway. I think is his honesty that gives him this aura among youth.
How do you think Kashmir issue can be resolved? It is hampering peace and development.
There has to be a lasting solution to it but we can’t hold peace and development hostage till it comes.
How do you view the performance of the J&K coalition government?
The first three years of this govt. were marred by controversies and upheavals but there are still three years left to make amends and gain the confidence of the people. Also NC can’t motor along alone without taking its coalition partner into confidence. It is unfortunate that the coalition partners aren’t able to work in tandem. Mr. Omar Abdulla needs to seriously think about it and make sure the coalition dharma isn’t violated.
Do you think J&K needs political reforms?
Yes, I believe so. We are actually marred by nepotism, corruption, redtapism and a lot more. We must bring in political reforms in the form of greater political accountability, citizen charters, effective and responsive leadership in order to do away with such vices.
What is your opinion about factionalism in JKPCC?
Factionalism was a major problem in JKPCC but believe me, it hardly exists now. I think the JKPCC Chief, Mr. Saifuddin Soz, has done a wonderful job to root it out. He worked overtime and made others to work too at the grassroots level, so there was no time left with anybody to indulge in mischief.
What message would you give the people, especially the youth, of J&K?
My message is that congress is a permanent player of affairs in J&K and an agent of positive change,
so we must support Congress in whatever way we can.
I would also like to make this appeal to the youth that they should realise government cannot give everybody a job, so they must explore new avenues. We live in the age of internet and there are far greater areas beyond govt. jobs.