Monday, 8 March 2010

I-Political Game Change in India- Rahul Gandhi’s Transformation of the Indian Youth Congress

As someone who has returned back to India to participate in the transformation the nation is going through, I am very interested in following all aspects of transformation. As a direct participant in the economic transformation, I am seeing us slowly but surely emerging from below the poverty line, and we are in the process of building scale businesses, many of which are already multi-billion $. I am starting to see the benefits- increased prosperity, better towns and cities with quality infrastructure - the whole nine yards!

The other transformation that I would love to see, is the transformation in politics- an arena most of us folks watch from the sidelines without participating. I would want to see the end to corruption, an end to hooligan politicians, the end to the dominance of money and nepotism, basically a cleaner political ecosystem.

Well, as i write this, there is transformation underway in the Indian Youth Congress, inspired by Rahul Gandhi, and that change is likely to have big implications for Indian politics.
I first came to know of this transformation from Rahul in August- 2009 when I met him in his office in Delhi. I have been following this transformation ever since.

For the purposes of description of these blog posts, I have specifically focused on Tamil Nadu where i have seen the entire process from start to now, as the final stages are unfurling. I went to Salem and Dharmapuri districts in October-2009 during the membership-drive , and in Madurai last weekend, where i attended training and observed the nominations and elections. I have tried to follow this change as it is happening- it first started in Punjab, wended its way through in Gujarat, Pondicherry, Goa, Diu and Daman, in Tripura and is currently underway in 5 other states- Rajasthan, Haryana, UP, Chattisgarh, Jharkand, Kerala to name a few...

Why is this Gamechanging? Rahul has created one simple guiding principle- any holder of a post in the Youth Congress, HAS TO win an election to get there. And once you are a post holder, you are assured of the “official” ticket to contest Assembly or LokSabha elections from that region.

The game change is this- the key “prize” anyone in politics slogs his/her guts out for is to contest the Assembly/ LokSabha elections as the representative of the party- to get the party ticket- they go through years of literal slavery and serving their “mentor-leader” to get this seat. And even then, opacity and arbitrariness rule the way seats are allocated, resulting in years of toil coming to naught! With this system though, if you have proven yourself in the internal elections in the congress, hey presto, the seat is automatically yours. No nepotism, no kow-towing to senior leaders, no slaving for your leader for years in the desperate hope that you will get your ticket some day - basically a completely transparent process to success. The system is the essence of simplicity and clarity.

In the next few posts, i am going to take you through the different aspects of the story. Please feel free to comment and feedback on these:

  • Guiding Principles
  • The Process of Transformation
  • The Stories
  • Keeping the Engagement Going
  • The Implications

The next post is about the Guiding Principles that inspired this Transformation.

No comments: