Politics and New blood in India


BJP inducting younger leaders across India

Without new blood no party can survive

CPM is the best example

(Dr Pentapati Pullarao)

Ever since known history, man tried to find the secret of living forever.  Emperors   ordered their pundits to see if there is “ an elixir of life ‘, which means a medicine, which can make you live forever. Man always wanted to avoid death and live forever like the Gods. But till now, that secret has not been found.

Had there been an “ elixir of life ‘, human beings  would not need youth to succeed them. But in democratic politics, death of leaders means they need successors. They must attract younger blood and talent.

Indian democracy has developed “Indian characteristic “. At one time, India was  ruled by kings. Naturally, India adopted some of those customs and dynasties were accepted and king’s son became king.

In India, Tamilnadu Stalin succeeds his father Karunanidhi, Thackeray succeeds  Thackeray, Surpiya succeeds Sharad Pawar, and of course, Rahul Gandhi is the heir of  Congress Party.   The BJP also has  many dynasts. But they don’t  control the party.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi says dynasties must go and only merit should be the condition for power. Modi and  BJP are actively promoting younger leaders and talent. Obviously, Modi feels that once he leaves the scene, BJP should not collapse. Before him, Atal Behari Vajpayee  & Advani dominated BJP from 1980 to 2014. But they had no succession plan.

WHY CPM collapsed in Bengal? Political parties need new blood to survive.  The best example is CPM in Bengal. Jyoti Basu and Buddadeb Bhattacharya were communist chief ministers from 1977 to 2011.  Both were highly talented. Yet CPM collapsed in 2011. This was because for 34 years, no new blood came into the party. The same leaders dominated CPM for 34 years and new blood went to Mamata Banerjee and BJP.

From 2014, Modi had an Open-Door policy for talented younger leaders from other parties.   

  1. Assam and NorthEast:; BJP inducted charismatic Himanta Biswa Sarma, who brought BJP to power in Assam and became Chief Minister. From the other 6 Northeast states, younger leaders entered the BJP. The BJP  has become a power in  Northeast.
  2. In Bengal, BJP had no established leaders. Literally, all BJP leaders are new to politics.   Hence the BJP  has emerged as the main opposition to Mamata Banerjee in Bengal. .
  3. In Maharashtra, BJP had inducted number of younger leaders who did not get posts in Congress, Sharad Pawar party or Shiv sena. BJP leader is a young leader of the BJP.  
  • In Telangana, BJP is also literally a new party and hence could give leadership to people like Bandi Sanjay and others. Telangana BJP also recruited Powerful leaders from Congress and TRS. Congress and TRS are full of traditional loaders. The BJP has got younger blood.
  • In Tamilandu, a good example is K. Annamalai, who is a former IPS  officer. Compared to the DMK, ADMK or Congress, BJP has got the youngest leadership. There is intense dynamism in Tamilandu BJP. In DMK, the leadership has been with Karunanidhi 35 years ago.
  • In Kerala, the recent induction of ANIL Antony, son of great Congress leader  A.K. Antony has stunned politicians. The BJP is making efforts in Kerala to  attract younger leaders, who have no political prospects in other parties.   In Kerala, most MLAs of all parties have been there for at least 25 years.
  • Attracting Muslims : The BJP is making  efforts to win over Muslims . The BJP ‘s latest entrant is the former Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University Prof. Tariq Mansoor. BJP is focusing on Muslim women This is entirely new blood into the party . It can be imagined that a  Vice-Chancellor of  Aligarh University will join BJP ?

How dynasties parties get new blood? Dynastic parties automatically induct children of the leader and that is the “new blood”.  DMK, Congress, Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena, Laloo Prasad   in Bihar, Akhilesh Yadav in Uttar Pradesh, Akali Dal of Punjab, Mamata Banerjee in Bengal simply recruit younger relations. This works for some time.

But DMK and other dynastic parties have stagnated. At one time DMK had 55% vote share and now has declined to 25%. The DMK wins power with a big coalition of a dozen parties. Dynastic parties decline after some time and then they search for allies. Even in Telangana, TRS is searching for allies.

There is decline in all parties where there is no new blood. Even amongst human beings, if you intermarry amongst relations for many generations, there will be genetic defects.

Sanjay Gandhi revived Congress in 1975:

By 1974, Congress under Indira Gandhi declined rapidly. After 1975, when Sanjay Gandhi, son of Indira Gandhi entered politics and recruited lakhs of youth and revived Congress. It was not Rajiv Gandhi or Sonia Gandhi, who revived Congress.

Ironically, Rahul Gandhi, who is enjoying the Congress, refused to allow son of Sanjay Gandhi into Congress. After Sanjay Gandhi, there has only decline in Congress in Congress, as no new blood enters it. Any Congress leader over 60 years, is a product of Sanjay Gandhi.

The BJP is definitely making efforts to get a huge group of new leaders. This is the best guarantee against decline of a political party. There is naturally resistance to new outside entrants in all parties. Can Modi overcome this resistance? 

(Author is a Political Analyst based at Delhi)


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