BJP on Thursday took a swipe at Rahul Gandhi saying he is silent on important issues while party's Prime Ministerial nominee Narendra Modi always raises them like a "people's leader".
Party MP and youth wing president Arurag Thakur said Modi at 63 is the real leader of country's overwhelmingly young population because he thinks and responds in a way which connects him to the youth.
"Modi has recently stirred a debate on Article 370 and everybody is talking about it. Rahul Gandhi is neither seen nor heard much," he said.
"... Modi understands people's problems and communicates with them all the time. That is why he is the true leader of the people," Thakur added.
However, Union Minister RPN Singh rubbished Thakur's contention saying the Congress vice president has travelled across the country more than Modi and other BJP leaders as he believes in speaking directly to masses and not through television or social media.
"There is a perception that if you are not going to TV or not on social media, you are not communicating. This is wrong. If Rahul Gandhi goes to people, speaks directly to them and hears their problems, this is communication. He believes in empowering people," he said.
At a panel discussion at the 'Agenda Aaj Tak 2013" -- a two-day conclave of India Today Group which began here yesterday, participants agreed that there is a need for engaging youth in nation-making and a transition is underway.
Meanwhile, BJD MP Jay Panda demanded relaxation in the rigid rules guiding the country's democracy, including its parliamentary system, which are a "handicap" for young parliamentarians.
"There are issues about whom young MPs have an independent opinion which their party may not share. They can't speak because of the whip system. These rules were drafted in pre-independence era to empower viceroys.
"It does not happen in many other democracies... It is a very rigid system. Young MPs do not get to participate much in parliamentary debates. Our top leadership at present is not at the same wavelength as the young population," he said.
Tejashwi Yadav, son of jailed RJD chief Lalu Yadav, said he is working to make his party more open to young ideas.
"If youth criticises the system from outside, it does not do any good. The best thing is join the system to reform it. This is what I wish to do," he said.