The Huddle

The Huddle 2020 | Only a “a microscopic minority” protesting against CAA: BJP MP Tejaswi Surya

Ritesh Pandey, Tejasvi Surya and Nivedith Alva in conversation with Palki Sharma, Executive Editor, WION.

Ritesh Pandey, Tejasvi Surya and Nivedith Alva in conversation with Palki Sharma, Executive Editor, WION.   | Photo Credit: K. Murali Kumar

The majority gave political capital to “fix civilisational problems” like Article 370, he says

BJP MP Tejaswi Surya termed the sedition law “a hangover of Victorian morality” like blasphemy and adultery laws and acknowledged it was being abused at the local police station level.

He called for a rethink “at both the police station and Parliament” regarding the use of law. He was speaking at The Huddle session “Tomorrow’s leaders: Youth as a force in Politics” on Sunday.

On the question of the government engaging with youth protesting against the CAA, 2019, he claimed Indian youth were not a monolith and termed those protesting “a microscopic minority” while a majority of youth had voted them in to do exactly what they were doing. He also said today’s youth were a “problem solving generation” that had given political capital to “fix civilisational problems” like Article 370 and the CAA, which were key issues.

However, this was countered by Ritesh Pandey, BSP MP, and Congress leader Nivedith Alva, who argued young leaders should look ahead and raise issues concerning youth like education, jobs and development. Mr. Alva said at least the young must “move beyond looking at politics from the prism of religion and caste”.

Mr. Pandey said there was a need for the youth to unite and launch a mass movement to hold the government accountable over jobs. Mr. Surya’s suggestion that the youth were probably not taking to streets as there was “employment generation happening” was met with laughter from the audience, even as moderator Palki Sharma, Executive Editor, WION, pointed out that unemployment levels were the highest in 45 years.

But are youngsters more successful today? “The youth are not necessarily voting the young. While a large chunk of the electorate is young, only 12% of members of Lok Sabha are younger than 40 years. For instance Kanhaiya Kumar was defeated. With hero worship and caste loyalties not going away, dynasty politics cannot be wished away,” Mr. Pandey said.

Mr. Surya said elections becoming “a very expensive affair” was also one of the entry barriers for youngsters to win and said introduction of electoral bonds was a step in the “right direction”, though this was objected to by others on the panel.

Mr. Pandey suggested state-funding of elections. But Mr. Alva argued that more youth, particularly at the panchayat level, are entering politics today. “Not everyone need to become MP or MLAs,” he said.

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 5:41:47 PM |

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