<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Technocrat Sam Pitroda, who has been closely associated with the Gandhi Family for many years, began his five-day tour of Gujarat on Thursday to seek people’s views for the Congress’ manifesto for the upcoming Assembly elections.Pitroda, who played a key role in the telecom revolution in the country in the 1980s, said that he will be meeting people from cross sections of the society over five days to understand what they want. Meetings with women, youths, and industry have been arranged for seeking their views.The technocrat said he will be travelling to Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, and Jamnagar for the purpose.”The views of people, and what they want, will be included in the Congress manifesto,” Pitroda told mediapersons at the Gujarat Congress headquarters.Pitroda identified education, health, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), employment and environment as some of the areas that the manifesto will broadly focus on. Inclusiveness is another area that will be a part of the manifesto, he said.”We are taking a bottom-to-up approach for preparing the manifesto,” he said.Asked if his role will be limited to preparing the manifesto, Pitroda said that he has been playing an active role directly and indirectly. He clarified that he does not want any political position, but is available for anything he can contribute to.Expresses concern at state of educationHe expressed concern at the state of education in Gujarat, saying privatisation has increased cost of education, but quality has gone down. He also said that the state has been left behind in Information Technology because Gujaratis don’t learn English.In response to a question about his opinion on farm loan waivers, which the Gujarat Congress has promised if voted to power, Pitroda declined to comment saying “I am not qualified to answer that.”Reservation important for under-privilegedWhen a question about the Patidar community’s demand for reservation in government jobs and higher education was put to him, Pitroda said, “Reservation is important for the under privileged, for people who have been wronged in the past. However, this doesn’t mean that one cannot come up without reservation.” He, however, added that its an issue that the party and government will decide.Says democracy hijackedRaising a red flag at what he described as hijacking of democracy, Pitroda said, “Democracy has been hijaced the world over. A handful of people cannot decide for everyone. This is not the democracy that our founding fathers had wanted. We need to get democracy back.”He also said that consultation process in India has stopped because collective leadership is missing, and personality cult has taken centre-stage.
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