India’s grand old party in need of young blood

June 27, 2011

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.


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The Congress party and a host of other parties have been for long talking about injecting fresh blood into India’s political system. At the same time, we have seen people like Rahul Gandhi, Milind Deora and Jyotiraditya Scindia become active politicians and gone on to become Members of Parliament. What is surprising is that most of the younger lot, be it from the congress or the BJP, are sons and daughters of established politicians. There seems to be no place for young people to be a part of the political setup. Its been an oft-repeated statement of almost all political parties through the years. I guess they will be happy as long as dynastic succession takes place. It runs in the family.

Posted by dhruvparamhans | Report as abusive

First, I am making myself clear that I am not against younger and well educated people in the politics. But just for sake of one person (Rahul Gandhi) we cant raise the topic. I think India does’nt need a younger and immature PM who once said “I could have been Prime Minister at the age of 25, if I wanted”.

Now coming to Mr. Manmohan Singh and his colleagues ability to take decision, it has become a questionable in UPA 2 tenure. In this case is PM in a state to recruit a Technocrat (like Montek Singh) to handle crucial job like Finance Ministry to tackle many issues like fiscal deficit, monetary policy, job creation, reforming many pending bills, keeping growth intact while controlling inflation and etc.

Posted by NaveenCM | Report as abusive

Whole nation cannot be put to misery just to make one fool happy. There is nothing more ridiculous than making Rahul Gandhi as PM of India. Congress is the destroyer of my country and we need to get rid of these sharks.

Posted by 007XXX | Report as abusive