The largest festival of the democracy is approaching – that is General Election 2019. BJP under the leadership of Modi-Shah duo, looking for the second terms. The process of tickets distribution is on.
The duo is calling the shot and as usual, both are acting with a strong conviction and it is apparent till now that both are audacious and ready to take risks.
LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi have been axed and not given tickets (not clear though whether they have consented for this or not). Sushma Swaraj is also not contesting ostensibly for health reason. Amit Shah himself is fighting from Gandhinagar and gave a clear indication to cadre that he is set to lead the battle from the front.
However, the most interesting news is that widow of gigantic leader late Ananth Kumar has been denied ticket and 28 years old Tejasvi Surya has been nominated from the prestigious Bengaluru South seat. This news was even difficult to assimilate for the BJP’s cadre in Karnataka. The OMG OMG tweet of Tejasvi displaying surprize went viral when his candidature was declared.
Now look at some other news. During the month of March, 45 years old Pramod Sawant took over the reign of Goa after the sad demise of Manohar Parrikar. Last year 47 years old Biplab Deb took over the reign of Tripura after a thumping victory of BJP in the state.
All these events indicate to one point that how Modi – Shah Duo is driving a generational shift in the party and how consistently they are developing and grooming the new generation of leaders and not shying away from taking the risk in the process.
Ever since Modi came to the fore in the party during 2013-14, he made it clear that the old generation needs to make way for the next one. He first set an upper limit of 75 years of age a ministerial birth, which left people like Yashwant Sinha and Murli Joshi infuriated. In 2014, 44 years old and a leader much junior in ranks, Devendra Fadnavis was appointed the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, which is one of the largest and prominent states of India.
Modi’s quest for promoting a whole new generation of politicians also reflects in his pick for Chief Ministership of Himachal Pradesh and UP in 2107.
His cabinet manifested this vision of Modi quite palpably as well. Smriti Irani, Rajyawardhan Rathore, Kiren Rijiju are few young faces, who hold prominent space in Modi’s cabinet and enjoy Modi’s patronage.
Modi realizes very well that changes need to bring in and the new generation is required to keep party relevant and keep it connected with the rapidly changing aspiration of Indians. He realizes that time has come for the party to move beyond ram-mandir, cow and Hindutva and the issues of youth, technology, start-up world, business & development and work execution need to take the front seat. You need to changes the narrative in a subtle manner with time.
Things which made sense 20 years back turned irrelevant 10 years back and similarly, the issues prevailed 10 years back has lost sheen today. This is smart politics. To drive the new narrative, you need new people.
The encouragement and grooming of next-generation leadership is the key step for any political party. Congress today is the moribund state in many a state only for this sole reason as second generation leaders were never picked and groomed and then suddenly Congress faced a vacuum in the leadership in many states. This ultimately resulted in demoralized and weakening cadre and lost ground.
There is one more point here for Modi. For the good or for bad, Modi remains a rather authoritarian as a leader. He is a man with strong conviction and thus Modi is building a team which remains unequivocally in his favour and follows his agenda without much question. This may only possible with young and second generation leaders in his team.
As it is said and change is an inevitable and continual improvement is key for success. Modi seems to understand this well. In case Modi won the 2019 election and come for the second term, this drive Modi – Shah to bring the youth and next-generation leadership in front will intensify for sure. You can expect many more young faces in Modi cabinet 2.0.
(The author is a NewsMobile iJourno. Views expressed are personal)