Allahabad, Jan 10 (Agencies): Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Mondday asked the country's youth to take active interest in politics saying participation of young men and women was essential to "clean up the political system".

Addressing more than 500 students at the Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology here, Gandhi said India has "the largest young population across the world" but lamented that "more than 90 per cent of our youth was deprived of higher education".

According to students who listened to Gandhi's brief speech, the leader highlighted the need for providing "quality education" to the country's youth so that it could "compete as well as connect with the global economy".

"The 21st century is the century of knowledge. We have immense youth power but we need to equip our youths with adequate education and skill in order to realise our dreams and fulfil our aspirations", he said.

Gandhi, whose visit to the city is a part of his two-day trip during which he intends to take forward his strategy to induct more young blood into the party also exhorted "young men  and women of the country to come forward, join politics and clean up the political system".

The Congress general secretary also said he was a votary of "having students' unions in educational institutions comprising democratically-elected representatives of the student community".