Home>>Blog>>That’s how transition happens!
BlogUdaykumar K.V.

That’s how transition happens!

Modi has redefined the veteran-ism. As the gallery occupiers are leaving their space, new talents are taking their space. Modi has brought in an inevitable transition in the cabinet formation with an abrupt deviation from the style of running with the regular senior faces. Gerontocracy is waning, thanks to the youngest Cabinet in place with the widest national representation.

It is always unpredictable. That is how Narendra Modi acts. The fourth estate has long lost its once-powerful nose to smell what goes on inside the power circle. Modi knows how the fourth estate used to make itself a powerful lobby tool by which the powerful could remain powerful ever. But Modi has rewritten it, rather more adventurously this time by elevating many of his party workers to a level that most of them never could imagine. In a democracy, sometimes, unpredictable things happen.

Less than three years to go for the next poll, the second term of the Modi government has overhauled the profile of the entire ministry. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which for most parts of its history, and in the history of its predecessor, the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, saw North Indian upper-caste overweight.

But the latest cabinet overhaul reflected a big turning point. Perhaps that is a compulsion of generational change or an inevitability of the time. Nevertheless, in politics, the generation does not change so abruptly by choice, because veterans refuse to retire from politics until they are shown their doors. Independent India had seen challenges of putting up with the veterans for many years. It was sinful to ask them to retire.

After the election victory in 1984, Rajiv Gandhi tried to keep some veterans away from power to elevate some leaders like Arjun Singh. But he faced fiery deliveries from old-timers like Kamalapathi Tripathi. Rajiv Gandhi was the youngest of all Prime Ministers that India had ever seen. He was only 40 years old then. The subsequent Prime Ministers did not try the unconventional way of side-lining the so-called veterans. The gallery occupiers in politics, whom the media used to carry as poster boys of their party, continued to occupy the cabinet also. That made an inevitable generation change a bit difficult.

Modi, with tight control, has tried a different way, first by determining not to fill his cabinet aggressively with old-timers aged above 75, who were the leading names. All media predictions of a split fell flat after Modi warned the media against their misadventure. He tried with strong second-line leaders and gave retirement to senior-most leaders keeping them in the position of gurus. Rebellion and resistance did not get wider coverage, which gradually fell silent.

More than seven years later, we see it again. A batch of old-timers has retired and been replaced by new ministers. Modi seems to be trying a new combination. Most of the new ministers are not nationally popular. Empowering the not so popular is not a bad formula. Moreover, the new generation should not accept the convention of veteran-ism in the cabinet formation. Until an attempt is made to try new hands we will never know whether better talents are available down the line. Media, cast in the old frame, dig into the colour, caste, creed and even genus and make news on caste equations of new ministers. This exercise gives the BJP a historical course correction. A well-balanced pan-India representation credits the once-branded north Indian party with new credibility. But the coming days will tell us how well the new team can feed Modi’s vision. There is nothing perpetual in politics. As the stage changes, the story of the political play also changes.

Udaykumar KV

Udaykumar K.V

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *