Youth in Politics: Dare to Scavenge the Filth of Stained Profession? [Problems and Solutions]

Posted on June 14, 2010 in Politics

Ankur Kumar:

There isn’t much to describe about the current state of Indian politics and its impact. Each of the big political scandals in the history of India would reaffirm the fact that politicians who are meant for building the nation are actually engaged in looting, degrading and distorting the integrity of the same for their personal benefits. Bofors Scandal, Babri Masjid Demolition, Fodder Scam, JMM Bribery Case, Gujarat Riots, Taj Corridor Case, innumerable Land Scams, the very recent Telecom Scam so on and so forth…the list is endless. The present state of our political system refrains the motivated youth from entering into this stained profession. Why not give it a try? You will get to do heroic acts of EVM tampering, intimidation, buying votes, switching parties on grounds of a secure ticket or just killing party men for the same. Or if you are really young, you would definitely be instrumental in calling a Bandh, launching inappropriate protests with a like-minded group of yours, torturing couples on Valentine’s Day, engaging in flaring up riots when your party demands and even much more destructive work than you can ever imagine. This is indeed the role which youths are currently playing in politics.

Root cause of this menace

If we analyse deeply the root cause of the shape politics has taken today, we would find two of the reasons to be prominent ones — Corruption and Illiteracy. Had it not been for the low morale of corrupt and greedy politicians, such bizarre incidences of eating away the public funds would never occur. At times, everything seems to be centered around the materialistic greed of politicians. The opposition slams every possible right move of the ruling government in a hope to gain popularity amongst the public and to express its delusive concern for public welfare. All this is to win the next elections and fill their coffers. Coming to the second cause of illiteracy, around 70% of Indian population is rural and approximately 35% illiterate. Given this fact, the poor and downtrodden are always an easy catch for politicians. That describes how Mrs. Shiela Dixit and Mr. Laloo Yadav managed to rule for three terms in Delhi and Bihar respectively with a clear contrast in the two cases. (Shiela Dixit is currently ruling the third term.)

Does family background matter?

Taking cues from young leaders like Rahul Gandhi, Omar Abdullah, Sachin Pilot, Jyotiraditya Scindia etc. it would appear quite impressive for an Indian youth to find highly qualified young fellows being active in politics. But what about a common youth who does not have a Godfather in Indian Politics? What about people like you and me? Is the journey to a seat in the Parliament so easy? Think about it…

What can be done?

  • A Bill should be passed for mandatory retirement of politicians who are above 65 years of age. This would pave the way for young and dynamic leaders who are not resilient to changes in their ideologies and who do not have an orthodox approach towards issues. Currently a minimum age of 25 years is the only restriction.
  • Stricter qualification eligibility for election contestants: Post Graduate should be the minimum criterion. A school dropout cannot manage a portfolio. There are no educational bindings at present.
  • More awareness and importance should be given to Political Science subject in schools. This awareness will prompt interested students to go for such subjects in graduation instead of blindly following what the crowd is doing.
  • It should be made mandatory for all parties to give a fixed percentage of tickets of any constituency to young leaders of party.
  • There is a need for restriction on number of terms a politician can serve a cabinet post so that young leaders are also given a chance and the portfolios are transferred over to the younger generation.
  • Portfolio allotment should be done the basis of qualification of an elected MP. This would ensure better management and insight of work at the minister’s end.
  • More often than not Election Commission fails to monitor criminal record of contestants.  Criminals get elected owing to less number of better candidates against them for obvious reasons.  Who wants to put his life at stake?

Role of Aged Politicians:

We can’t let go waste the valuable experience of old leaders and diplomats. After the retirement, if a politician is fit mentally and is willing to provide his services to the nation, he can continue to be an asset for the nation. In those cases, he should be (not can be) given Advisory Posts in various portfolios. This would also ensure better guidance of the young blood entering into politics and overall it would be a productive step for the country.

Concluding this article, I can say that the road to the reforms in Indian Politics do not seem to be an easy task. It is only when we youth would feel a need for it that the reforms would be given a consideration.

image: A Trinamool Congress party supporter holds a party flag and jostles to get closer to the dais during a rally marking Martyr’s Day in Calcutta, India, Tuesday, July 21, 2009. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)

The writer is a Goa based Correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz and also a student at BITS, Pilani — Goa Campus.