Monday, 8 March 2010

VI-Rahul’s Transformation of the Indian Youth Congress : Implications for Politics and for India

This is the concluding post in my series of blogs on the transformation of the Indian Youth Congress. In this post, I speculate on the implications of this transformation on the Congress, on Other political parties, and on Politics in India. To go to the first post and follow this series in sequence, please click here.

Implications for the Congress: There is the addition of significant new blood to the ranks, and in a grass-root level cleansing of the process of politics, which historically has been given to too much of muck, grime and nepotism at this level. However, from an objective of winning mainstream elections, which is the dominant objective of any political party, this transformation may not, in the short run- 3 to 5 years -have too much of an impact.

But the long run outcomes change dramatically- clean systems will bubble up better talent, who are already proven to have contested and won elections, a fundamentally better route to get leadership. Also, since they are being “caught-young” (younger than 35), they are going to be around for a very long time.

This process also makes it clear who enjoys what support. As Rahul mentioned to me, one look at the id-card of any IYC member will tell him instantly how much support the member enjoys and how much of power he brings to bear on an election in that state. Unlike earlier, when a General Secretary of the IYC in a state only meant that you had a powerful patron, but not necessarily much support.

Most elections are won or lost on a 3-5 % swing in votes- having such an extensive party organisation and their extended families will mean that each member will translate to 3-4 votes at least- making this organisation the winning card in most elections- hence Congress will have an edge in every election.

Historically, Indian politics has been based on caste community and regional lines- the fact that no nationally significant party has come to power in the last 42 years in Tamil Nadu is a testimony to this fact. As winds of change blow, and as issues become increasingly national (jobs, security, corruption, governance, economic opportunities, infrastructure etc), a national party with presence at every level in the grassroots has a hugely significant advantage.

For the other parties: I am going to look at two types of parties- the regionally significant ones (eg the DMK/ AIADMK/ BSP /ShivSena etc) and at the nationally significant ones (BJP/ The Communists).

From Terrorism to Jobs, from Economics to Roads and other infrastructure, as issues become more and more national, i see a weakening role of the regional parties, whose agenda for just one region is just incapable of inspiring election wins, and a resurgent congress, based on the youth power ,will be a clear replacement alternative to existing Idealogy.

At a national level, the BJP already can depend on the RSS, which has a national level grass root program. But the RSS is not the BJP, and the RSS agenda is manifestly right-wing Hindu, and is not based on democratic principles of winning elections. Hence, there are likely to be a few issues in how the BJP counters this grass-root congress strategy, but i think they have it in them to make their changes and come upto scratch.

For India, this is a welcome fresh wind blowing – something which will bring more equity and participation, and make the process of governance much more transparent, and resulting in better and more thought through decisions for the society.

In particular, transparency and better politics in India minimises the one difference the world sees between India and China, to China’s benefit. Their “one party authoritianism” does deliver on what they have promised, even if there is a lot of corruption- whereas our opaque, slow, nepotistic and corruption ridden politics has not traditionally delivered. Good news!

Please feel free to comment and let me know what you think.


1 comment:

Murali said...

It is 2 years since you wrote this interesting posts and more than a month since UP was taken by SP. So what do you think went wrong.