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Congress’ 1970-style treatment of young leaders won’t work. It can learn from BJP

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The Pilot vs Gehlot drama in Rajasthan has revealed a festering wound, which the Bharatiya Janata Party has always accused the Congress of concealing, especially while choosing its chief ministers in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The BJP has accused the Congress of being ‘darbari’ and favouring the old guard by dismissing or undermining young leaders. It is said that the Congress doesn’t promote younger leaders because it doesn’t want anyone to overshadow Rahul Gandhi.

But the recent turn of events, involving Jyotiraditya Scindia, Aditi Singh and now Sachin Pilot, have made it clear it’s the Congress’ impatient younger lot that is out to break ranks with the party. Their individual reasons could be different — greed, hunger for power, desperation, flimsy ideology, self-preservation or a genuine organisational issue within the grand old party. But they seem almost synchronised in their open display of change of heart.

The old guard of the Congress insists, like Ashok Gehlot recently did in an interview, that the party’s younger leaders lack patience. Gehlot argued that he waited for 14 years to become the chief minister after taking charge of the Congress’ Rajasthan unit in 1984, and Sachin Pilot should have shown the same patience because that’s the way politics works.

But is that the way politics works? And is the BJP justified in accusing the Congress of sidelining young politicians? Let’s see.

Also read: Sachin Pilot & Co will be 49th breakaway from Congress. But only 16 survived on their own

In politics, a Scindia at 49, Pilot at 42 and Rahul Gandhi at 50 are considered young. Keeping this in mind, let’s see how the BJP fares in treating its younger politicians aged under 55.

The BJP chose then 45-year-old Yogi Adityanath, the Mahant of Gorakhnath Math, as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, even though its state president Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma were the reason for the party’s thumping victory in the 2017 assembly election. But unlike Sachin Pilot, who never really settled in the role of deputy CM, always waiting for the Congress to give him the coveted chair held by Ashok Gehlot, Maurya and Sharma never complained being deputies of CM Adityanath. Perhaps, the hold of Amit Shah over party organisation keeps the ranks of BJP........

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