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Deadwoods hang on to power leaving youth at the end of their tether

Deadwoods hang on to power leaving youth at the end of their tether
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Deadwoods hang on to power leaving youth at the end of their tether

Highlights

The recent political developments in Rajasthan show the degeneration of democratic system upon which the country is cemented

The recent political developments in Rajasthan show the degeneration of democratic system upon which the country is cemented. The Congress is the main Opposition party in the country - a secular party, which is facing a serious crisis. It has got its own weaknesses including pro-corporate policies and compromises on secularism.

On the other side, the BJP is not a normal bourgeois political party, but a party that is implementing fascist policies and destroying the secular fabric of the country. As the Left is weak, the unity of all secular parties is the need of the hour to fight and defeat the policies of the Sangh Parivar. The Congress has to play a role as the bigger Opposition party to resist the BJP and mobilise the people.

In the recent period, the Congress losing Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and even getting into trouble in Rajasthan is disturbing the secular forces of the country. There is of course dirty manipulation game of the BJP behind the screen, but the failure of the Congress has also played a big role in these suicidal developments. Youth are discouraged from entering politics. It looks like those have established themselves in positions of power do not want the next generation to usurp their privileged position and hence preach the younger generation to look after their own career and not bother about the society.

Rahul wanted to nominate Jyotiraditya as MP Chief Minister and Sachin Pilot as Rajasthan CM but the seniors in the Congress did not allow. It looks later they also created a situation where both Jyotiratiya and Sachin were being sidelined. Had the young leaders been given more space to run the party, the condition of the Congress would have been in a better State in United Andhra Pradesh, and if young blood was given more responsibilities in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, the Congress would not have suffered.

The Congress is in its lowest ebb, as of now. However, the moral of the story is not confined to the Congress only. In all political parties across the spectrum, the same dichotomy of seniors vs. youth prevails. Only the right combination of experience and hot young blood can ensure a good future for any political formation. The younger generation has grown up in a rapidly changing technological environment and it is better equipped to accept change than the previous generations. They have better exposure to education and information, which was unthinkable for people of the previous generations. Change for them is a natural process. Particularly, the youth from middle and upper classes, who had better opportunities and exposure are now vying for a share of power. In this age of supersonic speed, the urge for change becomes all the more pronounced and acute.

Rajesh Pilot, though was a non-conformist, fought for Inner party democracy, but did not go out of the party. The same was the case with Madhava Rao Scindia. Both had not strayed beyond the beaten path. But their successors, Sachin and Jyotiraditya, who grew up in a technological age, wanted to zoom ahead and raised banners of revolt. No doubt there is lust for power and youthful impatience. YS Rajasekhara Reddy as a young leader revolted against seniors and captured power. He was known for his apparent devotion to the High Command in the Congress party, but his son, YS Jagan strode a rebellious path and brought down the Congress in Andhra Pradesh.

This phenomenon is not confined to the Congress. We find the same sense of disgruntlement in all political parties. It is but a natural process that the son ultimately rebels against the father's style of functioning, as he will be desperate to stride his own path in life. The upcoming youngsters in the political arena demand their share of power. In fact, both Sachin and Jyotiraditya was very close to Rahul.

We are witness to demolition of democratic institutions, ever-growing nepotism and partisanship and immature and lopsided policies. The Congress should urgently mend its ways. The one and only guiding principle of Modi seems to be, "rob the poor and feed the rich," a "Reverse Robinhood Effect." The Modi dispensation is busy driving a wedge between people on religious and caste divisions. Development is only in the mind-numbing propaganda, not in nation building. The so-called Make-in-India façade was not only ill-thought out and ill-timed but was sought to be implemented in an immature fashion.

The results are obvious.

We have lost valuable time chasing mirages and false goals, while the economy was drifting into an abyss. The need of the hour is to create livelihoods for youth in urban and rural areas, but the government, beyond any reasonable doubt, is woefully oblivious of this vital responsibility. An idle and disgruntled generation, totally lacking opportunities to live, will be a powerful powder keg, about to explode any time. Naturally, just for a day's bread, they will be forced to resort to lawlessness and crime. And this dispensation holding power at the Centre is responsible for this dangerous state of affairs. Those entrusted with the responsibility to run the country make irresponsible and snide remarks on unemployed youth to "sell pakodas!" Note bandi, impractical GST and now the ill-planned lockdown had broken the proverbial camel's back. The main Opposition party - the Congress - lacks the initiative to mount an offensive and so is the case with many other political formations.

The Left and the progressive forces have to come together at this historic juncture to grab the political discourse and change the direction of politics. What the country needs is a powerful Opposition with a voice that can be heard all across the country. During the run up to the last Presidential elections, Venkaiah Naidu had come to CPI's Ajoy Bhavan in Delhi and met S Sudhakar Reddy, D Raja and me. In the conversation, Naidu commented that both the Communist should come together and form a strong Opposition. I replied, "Your whole effort all these years had been to weaken the Communists." He replied, "The Parliament needs a strong Opposition. D Raja takes firm stand in the Rajya Sabha on many issues and this is welcome." Might be he sounded so nice as he had come to seek votes.

In 2004, the Left had supported the UPA-1 and they played a key role in shaping the policies of the government. Either in putting brakes on privatisation or in bringing forward MRNEGA, which had helped rural poor to earn livelihoods, the Left had played a decisive role. Their positive efforts in preventing the PF funds from being diverted to share markets, putting a check on Monsanto and other MNCs to penetrate into the national economy and strengthening of pharma sector, had in fact saved the day for India.

One has to concede the fact that the Left has become weak both within and outside the legislatures. And the Congress, the main Opposition could not abate the aggressive BJP. And we see the poor state of debates in legislative houses without communists. Most of the policy implementations today are being done by ordinances, by-passing Parliament. Just as the younger generation deserve a rightful place in running the nation, so is the case with the Left to regain their due share in politics.

(The writer is National Secretary, Communist Party of India. Views expressed are personal)

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