A little over a fortnight back, V Sankar took charge of the Puducherry Youth Congress.
The 31-year-old had never thought he would come this far, but then Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi decided to democratise the organisation. What has followed is a huge change, some even call it a revolution.
“I could get this post because there were elections… I got the highest number of votes,’’ he told HT.
Sankar joins the ranks of the YC presidents of Punjab (Ravneet Singh Bittu), Gujarat (Indervijaysinh Gohil), Daman and Diu (Mukesh Kanti Patel).
All of them made the cut through polls conducted after Gandhi took charge of the organisation in September 2007. Nominations and recommendations were the norm earlier. The enthusiastic response that Gandhi’s move has generated has prompted the Indian Youth Congress (IYC) to go bolder.
Instead of holding elections in one state, it now plans to have simultaneous polls, starting with Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Haryana and Tripura.
The country will be divided into six zones, each a cluster of about 80-100 parliamentary segments.
The elections in all the states will be over in two-three years, said Jitendra Singh, Gandhi’s deputy as AICC secretary.
These polls are changing IYC’s complexion — providing aspirants a level playing field. “A silent revolution is taking place… A new crop of leadership is coming up at the grassroots,’’ said IYC chief Ashok Tanwar.
Clearly, the other half of the Congress, as the IYC is known, is redefining itself and, in the process, the party’s politics.
Ethical values and coming together of social groups is also on Gandhi’s agenda.
He had started with talent hunt for potential recruits (yet to be done in some states).
It has been followed by polls, with the process being fine-tuned along the way. “We’re getting better each time,’’ Gandhi had said recently.
In Punjab, elections were held at block, district and state levels. In Gujarat, these were replaced with assembly, Lok Sabha and state units.
Panchayat units were added for Puducherry.
So, is it over for “ political kin”? Not really, but as the election of Bittu, grandson of assassinated Punjab chief minister Beant Singh, shows, those from political families will have to get elected and perform. And performance also includes ethical behaviour.