Politics may be considered a dirty word for a majority of us. While democracy is the so-called buzz-word for India’s political system, the ‘scam after scam’ phenomenon has become an integral part of almost every political party, institution or event. Corruption is commonplace in government offices and second nature to some of India’s politicians. Are you really satisfied with the way India is being governed? If you, like many others, are keen to become a torchbearer in an effort to make a difference in India, actively participating in the field of politics may just be the path for you.
India wants you(th)!
One of the loudest cries heard at political gatherings across India is that the youth should enter the field of politics. In fact, these cries that call upon the youth to lead the country have echoed right from the time of India’s independence. It started with Gandhi’s request to the youth to actively participate in the freedom movement and continues right up to today’s pleas by young political leaders like Rahul Gandhi, Milind Deora, Varun Gandhi, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Naveen Jindal, Priya Dutt and Sachin Pilot, amongst others.
A notable event took place in the 2008 Rajasthan assembly elections. Interestingly, when Congress won, it was credited to the brilliant performance and votes of 30 or so Indian Youth Congress (IYC) members, who opposed a senior incumbent and emerged as winners.
Most political parties in India have affiliated youth wings. For instance, the Indian Youth Congress (IYC), the youth wing of the Indian National Congress party, is a striking example that depicts the country’s eagerness to encourage the youth to make a difference and to lead the country. With its informative web site (www. iyc.in), becoming an IYC member is a breeze with illustrated directions. Check with the political party of your choice and start volunteering in the youth wing.
The phenomenon that involves the youth forming their own political party instead of just playing puppets to major parties is not new. However, these parties have hardly managed to take off, giving rise to the question whether such youth-driven parties can compete with the big names in India’s political scene. However, a party for the youth, by the youth and of the youth needs to come to life, given that the youth of today have a desire for change and are brimming with fresh ideas.
Muddassir Usmani, who owns a fashion merchandising company, was one of the key players that attempted to start a youth-driven party. He says he was always interested in politics, but was passive until the shocking 26/11 terror attacks. He however was faced with a number of issues. “We met a lot of experts, politicians and people of interest to understand the nuances in this arena. People don’t usually take a 24-year-old seriously if he is talking about starting a political party. The minimum required age is 25. The state elections were that year itself, so we had to wait another five years, and not many were up for that,” says Usmani. He is of the opinion that youth-driven political parties are the way to go, since youth wings these days, are only about meaningless protests, senseless banners and other such illogical methods.
“Youth-driven political parties are the only hope, but they need to be ‘marketed’ well. You need a popular face to promote it, some excellent fund-collectors and people who are in it for the right reasons and for the long haul,” explains Usmani.
Here are the steps you need to take to start a youth-driven political party:
• One needs to be at least 25 years of age.
• A registration application along with certain documents needs to be submitted to the Secretary of the Election Commission of India. The accompanying documents include copies of the youth-driven party’s Constitution, an affidavit signed by the party’s president and general secretary that states that no member of the party is a member of any other political party, and particulars of bank accounts in the name of the party.
• A non-refundable demand draft of Rs. 10,000 as a processing fee in favour of the Secretary of the Election Commision needs to be drawn.
• The above mentioned documents must reach the Secretary of the Election Committee within 30 days following the formation date of the party.
If you are really keen to get into the field of politics, start early by keeping abreast with current affairs not just in India, but all around the world. It’s important to learn how the governments of different countries operate. It’s also important to volunteer in various community groups to get a better idea of issues faced in your society. Volunteer in the youth wing of the political party of your choice so that you can learn a lot along the way. Interacting with journalists, social activists, resident associations and other key players of change also helps.
Pathway to politics
• Opt for the political science stream
• Volunteer in youth wings of political parties to learn the ropes
• Be abreast with current affairs
• Have a strong desire to make a change
• Start small, create awareness videos and be a part of awareness rallies in your area
Entry Age of Young Politicians
• Agatha Sangma, 28
• Milind Deora, 27
• Varun Gandhi, 24
• Sachin Pilot, 28
• Jyotiraditya Scindia , 31
Youth Political Parties
• All India Democratic Youth Organisation
• All India Federation of Democratic Youth
• Yuva Janata Dal
• Indian Youth Congress
• Revolutionary Youth Association
• Democratic Youth Federation of India
• All India Youth League
• All India Trinamool Youth Congress
Volume 1 Issue 4