इस लेख को हिंदी में यहाँ पढ़ें.
The eight-month long election process to constitute the Pradesh Youth Congress (PYC) committee has come to an end in Chhattisgarh: almost 400,000 members from across the state exercised their franchise to elect Youth Congress (YC) committees in more than 7500 panchayats, 1000 urban wards, 89 assembly segments and 11 Lok Sabha constituencies of the state. This was, beyond doubt, the largest democratic enterprise undertaken by any political organization in our state’s history. Not only this, Chhattisgarh has now become the first state where both NSUI and YC office-bearers are all elected. In this respect, we are the first state of the nation where Rahul ji's Revolution is complete. I was fortunate to have played a small part in this mammoth effort: more than anything else, it gave me an opportunity to tour the state, and interact with its youth.
Five aspects need to be noted about the PYC elections:
• First, the election of Uttam Vasudeo as state President puts paid to allegations of rampant misuse of money and muscle power in YC elections: he is, after all, a BPL-card (Below Poverty Line) carrying OBC farmer’s son from a village called Jhabar in Marwahi, my father’s home constituency.
• Secondly, each of the 4 divisions of Chhattisgarh has found representation in the state committee vis-à-vis Bastar (Saket Shukla), Sarguja (Danish Rafique), Bilaspur (Uttam Vasudeo, Sandeep Sahu, Sukhbai Khute and Pappu Baghel) and Raipur (Deepak Mishra, Asif Memon and Abhishek Modi).
• Thirdly, even though only 1 Lok Sabha (LS) President’s post was reserved, 8 of the 11 LS Presidents come from the "reserved categories":o STs were elected Presidents in no less than 3 Lok Sabhas vis-à-vis Bastar (Harish Kawasi), Sarguja (Babla Tirki) and Korba (Ms. Boondhkunwar Masko). Also, in Korba LS, the president-elect also happens to be a woman;o SCs became Presidents in 2 Lok Sabhas vis-à-vis Bilaspur (Govind Sethi) and Janjgir (Ashok Sonwani);o 3 other LS Presidents are Muslims vis-à-vis Kanker (Ameen Meman), Rajnandgaon (Nawaz Khan) and Durg (Ayub Khan).
• Fourthly, 84 of 89 Vidhan Sabha Presidents contested- and won- against rather than with the support of established local political leaderships. In this respect at least, the mandate ushers in a new wave of anti-establishmentarianism. The youth of the party, it appears, are not on the same frequencies as their leaders, and vice-versa. In many cases, progenies of political stalwarts were ousted by relative newcomers. Most notably, in Bastar LS, Harish Kawasi, the young Janpad President of Sukma (Dantewada), dealt a crushing blow to Bunty Karma, the so-called Bastar Tiger, Mahendra Karma’s son. The way I see it: the Youth cannot, and will not, be stopped.
• Last but not the least, 100,000 students have joined the NSUI and almost 400,000 youth have enrolled in the YC in Chhattisgarh during the past year under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi. This means that the membership of the party’s 2 youth organizations is at least 4 times bigger than that of the parent body’s. It is time, therefore, to stop thinking merely in terms of ‘Youth Congress’ but instead start to work towards making the entire Congress young.
The first Meeting of the new PYC, I’m informed, is to take place on Gandhi Jayanti (October 2, 2010) in Uttam’s Jhabar. It marks a radical new beginning: henceforth, the Youth Congress in Chhattisgarh will be run from villages, not cities. This is only fitting as 75% of its members live in panchayats.
To my friends in the Youth Congress, I offer two suggestions:
- First, rather than have a statewide program, I believe it is much more important for elected office bearers (EOBs) of the YC to identify local issues that directly concern the people, particularly the youth, and formulate strategies to solve them.
- Secondly, the best way to go about doing this is for each of them to undertake Padyatras (foot march) of their respective areas: there’s no better way to understand the people, and win their trust, than by actually living with them. During membership drive, some villages were left out. Padyatras would be a good way to encourage youth of those villages to join YC.
What this election has taught us all is this: one may have members, resources and strategy, but unless and until one has the Trust of the youth, and a Team to capitalize on that Trust, it's simply not possible to become a leader. This is something most commentators seem to miss out on. When a member casts his vote, he’s alone and there’s no one watching him, he’s free to do as he pleases, and at this point, the only question that arises in his mind is: whom do I trust? In this context, it gives me a certain degree of satisfaction to note that of the 90 persons who marched with me through the heart of Naxalite territory during the Bastar Satyagraha, 52 are now Assembly Presidents, 11 are LS Presidents, and 7 are in the state committee.
I, therefore, urge my friends in the YC and the NSUI to do everything possible to win the trust of the people. That is the essence of Rahul ji’s Revolution: to become a leader, you no longer need the blessings of the top leadership; all you need to do is win the trust of the people. And the best way to go about doing it is by hitting the road, and building your team.