Before we assess where we are going or even where we are at present, we must first know where we came from. Thus, today…before we begin a formal discourse and dissection of If- and Why- Congress has been steadily losing Indian Youth, let’s quickly recap.
The Indian National Congress (often simply referred to as Congress) was formed by A.O. Hume, Dadabhai Naoroji and Dinshaw Wacha, on December 28, 1885 (that’s right – even as the Britishers roamed amongst us) in Bombay, which therefore makes it one of the oldest political parties in the world. Its objective was to become a bridge between the British Raj and the educated, intellectual Indians. Well…so far…so good!
However…not quite!…for when these visionaries and luminaries got together to create, which was destined to become one of the largest political parties in the world, they probably did not stop to think that one day…a time will come when the largest political party would start losing its largest political base – the Indian youth.
But why is it that the biggest and the oldest political party in the world seems to have substantially lost the plot (along with the elections)? Well, I have a few theories, which I am going to encapsulate in a simple 3D formula:
Disconnect – (with the youth)
Let’s be honest…the youth cares about a myriad of things – getting good marks, getting a good job, falling in love, buying the perfect house, traveling the world, buying the biggest and fanciest cars, TVs, gadgets, etc. – However, what it does not care much about is petty partisan politics. The youth is looking for a political party that is going to fulfil its promise of ‘development’ and ‘progress’ – which was evident in the historic Lok Sabha Election win for BJP in 2014, when BJP-led NDA claimed a landslide victory. It was the first time since the Indian independence that a non-Congress party managed to win a simple majority all on its own.
That performance itself should have caused the Congress to stop and spend some valuable seconds in self-assessment. The general elections of 2014 was the litmus test for the agenda of development, where the Indian youth – once and for all – declared in one voice that the only way it was going to stand with a political party was when the party stood for progress. Thus, sloganeering and gimmicks are making Congress lose touch with the Indian youth, whose social aspirations have clearly surpassed Congress’ political aspirations.
Discriminatory – (politics is out)!
It was the British who perfected the art of divide-and-rule as a governance tool. But it seems our politicians have learnt the lesson well from their former colonial masters. For the same divide-and-rule tools and techniques seem to dominate the political scene. Whether it is religion, caste, creed, gender or even merit…the society is being pulled at its seam. Thus, it should not really come as a surprise to anyone to see that the youth is truly disgusted with this over-enthusiastic “discriminatory” policies.
Unless the political parties – including the Congress – change their tactics and use positive agenda that would bring the people together instead of driving them further apart.
Dynastic – (parties an impediment to progress)
Well, there’s a famous saying…a bad man is better than a bad name! Truth be told, the recent media reports of scams, sons, and son-in-laws…have been giving politics quite a bad name. Moreover, the Indian youth aspires and wants to live in a meritocracy that will reward their hard-work and won’t care about their surnames. Unfortunately, this perverse and blatant nepotism that has become a part and parcel of all-things-Congress has left a bitter taste in their mouths.
If Congress wants to connect with its young voters, it needs to come out of this monarchy-mindset and realise — before it’s too late! — that India is a democracy…The most important ‘D’!