Politics of youth

FT comments on the new age of Indian politics, hailing the transition from

Atal Behari Vajpayee, former prime minister and head of the Hindu nationalist Bha­ratiya Janata party government, once pointed out that an Indian politician is born at the age of 50, becomes a teenager at 60 and a young man at 70

to

The 39-year-old Mr (Jyotiraditya) Scindia is an example of a broader change taking place in the upper echelons of the world’s largest democracy: the emergence of a generation of politicians that hopes to steer India’s global integration and rising economic power in coming decades.

As the article itself acknowledges, it is not just the names that matter. A quick look at the surnames – Gandhi, Scindia, Pilot, Prasada, Sangma, Dikshit, Dutt, Abdullah etc reinforce the obvious:

Ms Sangma, from a political family in the north-east, acknowledges the benefits of family ties. She says she has achieved a ministerial job in her 20s while someone without her pedigree could take 30 years just to get a parliamentary nomination

Too bad then, that the emergence of young leaders has mostly served to reinforce the notion that politics is for the elite. I am not sure if US MBAs and work experience in international finance alone are the best building blocks for tomorrow’s political leaders. Going young may be in keeping with (and good for) India’s global image, but them young leaders are definitely not one among us

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