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The changing face of Indian politics

The changing face of Indian politics
A student of mine came to my room to take leave after completing her Masters programme on 'Development Management'. When she entered, I along with my colleagues were discussing on state and national politics of today; we asked her about her perception of the current political scenario, as she represents the youth of today. Without any hesitation she told us by showing her mobile phone that the technologies of today had transformed the thought process of people in this country, adding that there was no parallel, meaningful transformation, or change in the field of politics.

She told us that it was unfortunate that politics had become dynastic, with families capturing and running parties as businesses without much innovation. The youth are tired of the regressive politics and they hate the hegemonic political culture developed by these political parties and their leaders.

She told us that it was unfortunate that politics had become dynastic, with families capturing and running parties as businesses without much innovation. The youth are tired of the regressive politics and they hate the hegemonic political culture developed by these political parties and their leaders.

This disappointment enabled current Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take up a firm stand and chalk out his agenda of activities, unmindful of the opposition parties, as they are weak and outdated. She went on to argue that at present no one is able to counter his influence in Indian society, at least now, as the political parties, both national and regional, however strong they are with vote banks, cannot match Modi's charisma, as he is the man of the time and others are still stuck in the past. They are not only irrelevant but also outdated.

Having listened patiently to her arguments, I asked her to list out the achievements of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi. She said that without having any background he connected himself with the masses only through his performance. He carefully created an image that he is here to deliver. He appropriately evolved strategies to keep his image above the images of all the leaders among the masses. When the development aspirations of youth were on the peak in the era of globalization he captured the opportunities by evolving appropriate strategies to project his image as a savior of the country and a trusted performer. Despite all negative projections he managed to emerge victorious.

She argued on the poor competency and capability of other leaders, who oppose our Prime Minister. She asked me a question, "Why could not Rahul Gandhi, despite being young, connect himself with the masses, more specifically with young despite his hard work and sincerity?" I informed that he was caught in a circumstance and context which worked against him. But she said that Rahul Gandhi has not exhibited his fire and not demonstrated his capacity as a leader to perform either in the party or in governance during ten years of UPA regime.

He neither demonstrated his leadership nor proved his ability to deliver through the government by taking over certain responsibilities. Further, she said that youth needs new leadership, new styles and approaches for politics. Youth looked at the emergence of Narendra Modi from the humble background with curiosity and admiration. She moved further in her argument that countering Narendra Modi is not easy as the conventional political leaders have moved away from the youth. I intervened to ask- how could one counter Narendra Modi? She said, all the political parties have to field new leaders to run the parties; there is no dearth of leaders in India. It is only the families in all the political parties barring a few that block the emergence of new brand of leaders.

She went on to argue that the political parties are trying to field a common candidate to contest in the presidential elections; even the name has been suggested. This is not the way to approach the problem. The political parties have to identify a common candidate for the Prime Minister post in the next election for the year 2019.
The political parties should not waste their time in the presidential election. First the Indian National Congress must ask Gopalkrishna Gandhi to lead the party; let him be the president of the Indian National Congress. He would provide new direction to the party.

His image will help the party to rejuvenate itself from the present, deep slumber. Let him identifying one hundred leaders from every walk of life to lead the party and thereby form a front to face the 2019 election. When young leaders with unblemished backgrounds join hands with Gopalakrishna Gandhi, the political scenario will be changed. As long as the Indian National Congress and other political parties keep continuing the present style of functioning with the present set of leaders, and the same vote bank approach, the prospect of Narendra Modi continuing in power for another decade is bright. The political parties have to adopt a different strategy to draw the attention of the youth and bring about changes in governance.

All the political leaders from the ruling parties both national and regional, in the past have earned a bad name among the masses because of non-performance, poor performance and wrong performance. But Narendra Modi, though he was also in power for more than a decade, maintained a clean record and performed well in governance evading any corruption charge. From all the above observations and arguments, it is undeniable that it is high time to reorient our political parties by restructuring leadership and realigning individual political strategies.
(Views expressed are strictly personal)
G Palanithurai

G Palanithurai

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