India’s grand old party in need of young blood
By Annie Banerji
With a cabinet reshuffle seemingly around the corner and the Congress party general secretary saying that Rahul Gandhi, the 41-year-old son of party chief Sonia Gandhi, had the potential to be a good prime minister, India’s home minister has now entered the fray to call for fresher faces at the highest level of politics.
In a recent interview with an Indian news channel, P. Chidambaram said that he does not consider the sixties to be the age of political prime in Indian politics; rather he feels sexagenarians in politics should step back from their positions, and leave cabinet posts for the young.
“I think we should have younger politicians. I firmly believe that we should have younger leaders. I think we should have ministers, including cabinet ministers, in their late forties and early fifties. I think those over 60, including myself, should step back,” he was quoted as saying.
If the home minister’s stance be taken into consideration with the impending ministerial reshuffle at the Centre, one could possibly witness the demission of 27 of the 34 cabinet ministers from their respective positions as most exceed the 60-plus age limit.
Leaving a handful of ministers behind, one of whom is expected to be dropped in the July cabinet restructure, the cabinet would then have a strength of seven members.
Dayanidhi Maran, India’s 44-year-old textile minister, is under investigation for alleged misdeeds in the purview of the 2G spectrum allocation scam and may be shown the door this time around.
Unlike the “minor” reorganisation of the cabinet earlier this year where none of the ministers were dropped, this time it is expected to be a “more expansive exercise” as the prime minister had suggested back in January.
With several graft cases in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s second term, a dampening economy and public ire, the home minister’s prescription could be the remedy to the government’s woes.
Perhaps the reordering of posts in the cabinet, the collective decision-making body of the government, with a majority of younger individuals with sharp political acumen could foster apt re-formation, which seems to be the need of the hour.