It is trite to observe that crisis are opportunities. What then should the congress do with the crisis it confronts? In short, the party should be returned to the people from where it came, namely, us Citizens. The congress party is our collective patrimony, our freedom’s chariot, and we would very much like to have it back. In this context, Rahul Gandhi has an epochal chance which he should grab with both hands. He should completely clean out the old guard and make congress a paragon of meritocracy and hard work by throwing it open to talent, failure to do so could consign the party to oblivion.
In this regard, very recently Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh made an open call for a young gun from the party to take on party chief. He said that,” Rahul had shown the way for leadership to take party’s reins and steer it to greater heights, adding that, “…with India leading the world in terms of largest youth population, it was natural that a young leader would understand and regulate to the desires and aspirations of the people more effectively. Any change in the party leadership must reflect India’s societal reality, with 65% of its population under 35.”
The Hindu CSDS-Lok Niti post poll survey highlight the fact how important role is played by young India in deciding the election. Data from the post-poll study conducted by Lokniti confirm that the BJP emerged as the most preferred party among first-time young voters. In the 18-22 age group, 41% voted for the BJP in this election, which is four percentage points higher than the party’s national vote share. The BJP’s vote share increased by four percentage points among first-time young voters from 2014. Since 2014, it has been noted that young voters are particularly strong supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The above stated fact clearly shows the importance of youth factor in contemporary politics.
Now when it comes to find the new Congress President, there are not many options available in party. Rahul Gandhi need someone who is young, dynamic and who can take party forward with his vision and leadership and at the same time can deal with factionalism in the party. The one name which fits best in this criteria is Deputy Chief Minister of Rajasthan Sachin Pilot who is also PCC Chief.
He has a proven track record and lead the party in Rajasthan since last 5 years. In 2013, when congress faced its worst defeat, winning just 21 seats against the BJP’s 163, party President Rahul Gandhi handed the reins of state to the next generation leader, a two time parliamentarian and son of former leader Rajesh Pilot who died in 2000 in a road accident. Pilot , who served as minister in UPA govt. in different capacities accepted the challenge and refocused his attention from national politics to state level challenges.
Within months, he changed his image of an urbane politician and slipped into his father’s shoes, often described as a farmer leader. A young Sachin who was then 36 years old stood back and filled the party with enthusiasm and gradually earned his electoral stripes. The road was not smooth for him, he braved the ruling BJP who had a thumping majority and solved the hurdles in his own party. He garnered the support and filled the workers with zeal and enthusiasm.
Starting a new journey in his political career, he travelled for over five lakh km through breadth and length of Rajasthan to strengthen the party at grassroot level and ensure its comeback. The “young Gun” tag may have stuck ,but Pilot has shown a level of maturity in successfully walking a tightrope- of his urban and rural avatars, of establishing ground level connect and also reaching out to tech-savvy youth , of engaging with grassroots workers but also dealing with the galaxy of party stalwarts in the state.
Known to be affable and approachable, Pilot’s hands on approach as the state unit chief has won him several supporters both within party and outside, congress workers believe. When it comes to reaching out to the tech savvy youth or engaging with grassroots workers, the 41 year old Stephanian used the skills he picked up from the MBA classes at Wharton Business School and newsroom of BBC back in 1996. Moreover the journalistic skills acquired from the field and the desk are visible when he debates on English news channels.
As PCC Chief, his work within the party is very encouraging. He is always open to new ideas and listen to every worker. He takes a keen interest in holding regular meetings of various departments and cell within the party to understand the issues and also takes the feedback regularly. He uses his management skills in making party cadre strong as booth level. He was the brainchild behind starting a program for booth workers namely, “Mera Booth Mera Gaurav” where the stress was given to strengthen the booth management. Later this idea was adopted by several state units of congress party. Pilot has undoubted helped steer the congress from the depths of defeat in 2013 and has helped the party come closer to victory in Rajasthan . With his hard work, party comfortably reached the magic figure in 2018. The number could be more if some senior leaders would have not damaged the party internally.
Pilot is not confined to Rajasthan state only. He is very popular in various parts of India. He is a regular star campaigner in many state assembly and parliament elections. Very recently, he actively took part in 25 election rally and road shows in many states like U.P., Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana etc.
The politics in India also largely depends upon how well you managed the different castes and sections. Pilot understood this and always gave equal weightage to every caste and religion. He very well managed the social engineering. He was the sole voice in opposition who always fought for the rights of distressed farmers, unemployed youth, government employees and women security.
Like Rahul Gandhi, for the last 5 years, he fought against BJP-RSS single handedly. He is a firm believer of constitutional and democratic values. He raised key issues like saffronising education, rewriting of textbooks, redefining nationalism etc. He exposed the BJP-RSS regarding changing the narrative and he fought the assembly election on key issues.
In current scenario, it is very necessary that the decision of Rahul Gandhi should be respected. The congress party needed someone desperately who can carry on the legacy of party. The task is not easy but it’s high time to take some strong decisions for the future of party. Moreover if Pilot is given responsibility, it will be clear cut message from the party that hard work is appreciated and rewarded in party. With Rahul Gandhi backing him throughout, Sachin Pilot can undoubtedly revive the congress party amid the crisis.
(This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. Newsd neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)