While the general perception remains that youth can bring about a refreshing change in politics, the political landscape itself has undergone a sea-change. Today, with vendetta politics and the politics of hatred being played out on the bases of caste and religion, a new breed of politicians is much needed to bring about a change.
Well educated, dynamic and energetic, young leaders like Feroz Khan, Tejasvi Surya, Talasani Sai Kiran Yadav, Bharat Mathukumilli and Marri Rajasekhar Reddy who all hail from political families and are yet self-made, are increasingly playing a dominant role in their respective political ecosystems. Being young, they are not swayed by the old systems of caste, creed and other orthodoxy. But how different will their approach be compared to the old school of politics?
“Attitude makes all the difference. The politics of the country today require an influx of more young people in order to carry the nation forward. There must be room for those who are fiercely intelligent, accomplished, innovative and most importantly, passionate about their ideals and ideologies,” says 32-year-old Talasani Sai Kiran Yadav, son of minister TRS Talasani Srinivas Yadav.
Coming from the backward Yadav community, he acknowledges that he has been given an opportunity to go to the Parliament at a very young age and adds, “Politicians are no longer fixers or doers, they are the enablers. Hyderabad should be considered as an autonomous city. Voters here not only belong to different religions but speak different languages too. I would be the youngest politician if I make it to the Parliament and this itself is my marketing point.”
Further, Sai promises, “I will try and get maximum funds. We have already announced a regional ring road that will have a sports city, health and technology city and world class research centers.”
Launching a scathing attack on the present state of affairs, Congress leader Feroz Khan, who is contesting against MIM stalwart Asaduddin Owaisi, says, “Around 95 per cent of politicians are not serious when it comes to their profession. Most have entered into politics for their own goals. The promises made by political parties are not fulfilled and politicians have simply taken politics for granted. Neither are they service oriented nor do they have any patriotism left.”
He adds, “They lack the sacrificing quality and do not encourage the youth to join politics. This has created rage and frustration amongst the youth. This is also why the youth don’t want to enter into the field of politics.”
Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, Feroz says, “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win. This is the mantra that I am following to fight vendetta politics.
When the new breed of politicians talk about development, they are ridiculed by the “traditional” politicians who present flamboyant speeches — some riddled with propaganda, some based on caste and religion and others articulated purely to fatten some of the MPs’ already inflated egos.
It only proves that India is desperately in need of a new breed of politicians.
28-year-old Tejasvi Surya, a lawyer and BJP youth wing leader, was picked because of his oratory skills; the young man has created quite an impression with his fiery speeches, which his critics see as polarising. In one of his tweets, he says, “This may sound outrageous. But this election is going to be the test of a common man's patriotism.”
Interestingly, for these young politicians, life was luxurious, but they still took the leap of faith and dropped their conventional careers to become politicians. “I’m concerned about the divisions in society. People’s views on life seem to be black and white — no grey. It’s important we realise that there is good and bad in everyone, we need to take the good and leave the bad. We need to trust and respect each other in order to progress together. I’m committed to be the change I want to see in society — If I can stay firm, I will inspire others to walk on this path,” says Bharat Mathukumilli, grandson of former MLC Dr. MVVS Murthi, who is running for the Visakhapatnam MP seat on a TDP ticket.
Talking about the constant need for more youth participation, Bharat says, “Political talent among the youth in Andhra Pradesh is currently low due to the lack of organised student politics in public and private educational institutions. However, organisations are picking up now and we should soon be better placed for talent.”
Meanwhile, the bitter rivalry between AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and his sworn enemy YSRC leader YS Jagan Mohan Reddy is only intensifying, with both seemingly out to crush and finish the other. The same can be said about West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is engaged in a bitter fight with Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA. Closer home, both Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and his AP counterpart are engaged in a battle — with the lines between political and personal realms long blurred.
So how do the yuva netas feel when they see and hear of the ‘dirty’ world of politics? “Politicians are perceived very negatively by most people and to a large extent, that perception is not wrong. However, it is incumbent on all of us to change this viewpoint in order to encourage the many good, honest and qualified people to come forward and serve the nation. They presently prefer to stay out of it, as they are overwhelmed by the challenging and sometimes, dangerous notion about politics, which should have ideally been the noblest profession in the world. I want to be a part of this movement to bring about a positive change and be one of the harbingers of hope and clean politics,” says the young and dynamic politician Kanna Phaneendra.
Yet, despite the constant call for more youth participation in politics, one can hardly trace them out in the policy making framework of a nation which has the world's largest youth population.
In a recent development, youth leader Krishank Manne, whose departure comes as a big blow to the Congress, has joined forces with the TRS. “Youngsters in politics can think out-of-the-box only when they carry no baggage. If their politicking is because of their caste, religion or their hereditary tagline, then they are limited by guidelines which they can’t break free of,” says Krishank. Becoming a yuva neta is the most welcome change because nothing is actually impossible for a youngster, feels Congress leader Kaushik Reddy Padi. “Vendetta politics and politics of hatred has become the order of the day, and it’s a real problem that we are facing in our country today.”...