}Congress president Sonia Gandhi Sunday inaugurated the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Development Studies, a state-of-the-art research and training centre here.
The centre would be run by the Kerala unit of the Congress party. Speaking on the occasion, the Congress president said Rajiv Gandhi would be proud of the institute, and also of the workers of the party here who had made the institute a reality. "This institute should see that it creates young leaders who will take the country forward in the 21st century.
Apart from the research activities that this institute would take up, the centre should see that training is given to students to gain practical knowledge which will help the country," Gandhi said.
She arrived at the airport here in the afternoon by a special flight, and took a helicopter some distance, before driving to the institute on the outskirts of the city.
"This institute should teach students to be leaders of tomorrow who provide solutions to be implemented. We need experts to improve the condition of the marginalised, and institutes like this one will help face the challenges of the future," Gandhi said. The research centre would be housed in a 40,000 sq ft building, with a library and a convention centre.
The state party president would have the overall control of the institute. State Congress president Ramesh Chennithala said that the institute was a dream come true.
"This is a tribute to Rajiv Gandhi and the entire expense for building this institute has come from our party workers and the people of Kerala. We now wish the AICC gives us the necessary direction to take this institute to the national level," said Chennithala.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said the institute will make every Congress worker happy, as it represented the fulfilment of Rajiv Gandhi's dream. Sonia Gandhi will Monday launch the Kerala government's zero-landless programme. She is set to meet senior leaders of the state unit of the party Sunday night.