For most political parties elections are about capturing power. For us, they represent an opportunity to bring about change. This Lok Sabha election we had resolved we would provide India's youth a say in the way they want their nation to be governed.
We have delivered on our promise. Out of the 265 candidates declared by the Indian National Congress so far, over one-third are below the age of 50 years. This is the highest percentage of young candidates declared by any political party so far.
It goes to show that India's oldest and the most experienced political party is the most progressive. Our selection of candidates stands in stark contrast to the infighting and mad scramble for power that is evident in the ranks of other political parties.
According to Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, 'We need to have young faces in the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha. The day we do that, we wouldn't have to worry about development. There will be development all around'¦We want our youth to become MP's, MLA's, ministers and chief ministers.'
The Congress has always been a youth oriented party. Our youth wings - the National Students Union of India and the Indian Youth Congress ' have always led by example in strengthening internal democracy processes within the party.
Our young candidates are an interesting mix representing the vibrant spirit of a new India. Many of our nominees are cadres who have been active in our youth wings, while others are individuals who have made their mark in arts, sports and other fields of public life.
During his speech at the Jaipur Chintan Shivir, Rahul Gandhi had said 'There is a young and impatient India and it is demanding a greater voice in the nation's future. Let me tell you that they are not going to watch silently'.
We don't want young Indians to watch silently. We want our youth to become partners in India's progress. We want them to lead India and take it towards greater glory.