Friday, April 10, 2009

Inspiring Prospects

I am gathering my thoughts in this blog amidst some very unprecedented events which unfolded in the week. Hate and counter threat speeches by Varun Gandhi, Bal Thackeray, Lalu Yadav, Rabri, Vaiko, D Srinivas and Venkiah Naidu. Am inspired Sardar tossing a potent shoe “Just did it” for Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar!! Of what I call a “Spate of Hate” season aside an important suffix called Joothawala. It may be Jarnail Singh Joothawala today but promised to be many more in a follow up act of shoe fling.

The listed above are a rich political legacy yielding to undesirable proponents of populist and often self combusting agendas to win an electoral mandate. Amidst such cacophony, I often times resign to a bleak fate of India as a nation.

India today is one of the youngest nations in the world and their political classes aren’t representative of the young nation with several octogenarians still ruling roost at national parties. The average age of the parliamentarian and the chief ministers will be greater than 65 plus years.

This is when it strikes you that why Omar Abdullah’s speech delivered on the eve of the nuclear debate creating huge traffic on Youtube. I believe that every harvest season the farmers sift the paddy to separate grain from chaff.

A significant under current is sweeping Indian politics were the likes of Sachin Pilot, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Milind Deora, Akilesh Yadav, Dayanidhi Maran, Omar Abdullah and Agatha Sangma who at the age of 27 as one of the youngest politicians and the likes are making a significant mark and creating a bench of young leaders in waiting for their turn to build India.

At home city Hyderabad a certain and young 40 something Chandra Babu Naidu during the late 80’s with his characteristic dynamism took on the reigns of Telugu Desam party in an unprecedented coupe. In hind sight none I would imagine will complain as it gave the state of Andhra Pradesh one of the most successful Chief Ministers and as many believe left the most significant impact as a reformist and creator of AP State as a leading destination in the global Information Technology market.

A regular visitor at the Davos World Economic summit over 9 year he attracted some of the biggest names in global business with his charisma and bold reformist thinking. His friends and peers were the fellow leaders from Asia – Tun Mahatir Mohamed of Malaysia. Before it became fashionable for politicians today, Naidu was instrumental in hosting two of the biggest Bill’s of our century. Bill Clinton and Bill Gates. Their visits global attention as well as global investments to the city of Hyderabad.

Now he is no Yuva but; Chandra Babu has inspired many Gen X and Gen Y! Yuvaks to take up the path of political leadership. Close to his home in the recent times it has been the promotion of a dynamic Jr. NTR to the campaign forefront ahead of his son Narra Lokesh who was given the charge of the crucial strategic charter to deftly handle back office to forge synergy of a complex yet formidable “Maha Kootami”. An exercise which may well catapult TDP to power in the state and play king maker in the national politics with the third front.

Not only that, it is said that the daunting process of candidates selection in about 100-150 constituencies has been given to Lokesh, wherein he will scrutinize each and every applicant, both fresher and experienced, and only after through examination, will Lokesh give the nod to his dad. Both Narra Lokesh and Jr. NTR are playing their part to inject fresh blood into the party ranks.

Narra Lokesh as many believe was the force behind Rambotla to be fielded as a MP candidate from the prestigious 200 year old Secunderabad constituency. Rambotla is a 40 some thing Harvard Educated Sauvé first time political aspirant.

Similarly Jr.NTR had already pulled in his influence last election to field his friend and mentor Nani Kodali who won the Gudivada elections last time around with thumping majority when the part as a whole fared abysmally. This time Nani Kodali and Vallabhaneni Vamsi are two powerful Yuwa’s certain to win this occasion as well cementing Jr.NTR clout. Ironically both are Jr. NTRs producer friends as well.

Much of what I gather about Nani Kodali is from my close ex colleague at IBM Lakshmikanth Kodali who is Nanis brother. Unlike Nani, Lakshmikanth is a high quality software management professional. Lakshmi’s excite is palpable as he has the good fortune of seeing the young czars creating an new breed of political leaders amongst a larger society of “I don’t care what happens at polls urban youth” who rush head over heals to pursue lucrative careers in US

None has been more effective than Jr.NTR the campaigning trails this season wooing mammoth masses to sway in favor of “Mahakootamai” before an unfortunate accident grounded him to recovery and recuperation.

Closer to grass roots I have the great privilege to witness the transformation of my school friend and fellow cricket team mate into a promising political leadership material. The kind of right leadership that the nation needs so desperately.

Meda Venkatarama aka “Raghavan” is the eldest of the three sons. Purposeful networking skills and his sharp humor made him quite an entertainer in his college days endearing him company amongst friend’s .His younger brothers took up lucrative careers in banking at US and family business while Raghavan much against the traditions of typical middle class family backgrounders took up politics.

His beginnings were humble. He worked hard and sincerely at the constituencies under the mentorship of another charismatic leader Sai Anna. A three time member of the assembly who has never lost an electoral battle and aiming for a record forth term at the office.

Both hailing from a SC and ST background had a hard time to scale up to prominence in the party. But under Chandra Babu’s patronage – Sai Anna reveled well and emerged as a strong loyalist and an astute politician who gauged the pulse of the electorate precisely.

Many of Sai Anna’s political strategies and electoral forays were managed by yuwa leaders like Raghavan. Here is where Raghavan is making a difference with his approach to politics.

Firstly, he is a good student of politics and every day picks up vital learning’s every day. Raghavan bases his approach to politics on strong value systems and great common sense. He always believed that a positive mind often is better than a mass muscle at work. In his positioning of his party standing; he seldom attacks the opposition under the belly. Some things which is regressively fashionable now a days which even veteran like Advani don’t hesitate to gain political mileage.

Focus for him is to squarely on developmental and economic aspects. He takes pains to understand the issues faced by his fellow citizens and pays a patient hear before taking his stance. Rarely does his play his caste card. Is seen with the people of the constituency more than he can be seen at the party head quarters.

These very attributes are which propelled him as one of the youngest councilor in the newly formed MP constituency – Malkajgiri.

Due to delimitation his mentor had to move to another constituency. Yet Raghavan like a loyal foot soldier tirelessly campaigns for both his mentor at Secunderabad and fellow party nominees Sharada Mahesh at Malkajgiri.

In a day an age when most want to take their pound of flesh, he remains composed and level headed in matters related to internal politics and steadfastly focuses on building the party image and strength through incisive poll strategy and compassionate understanding of people issues.

His understanding of the machinery of democracy, public budgets, revenue collection, and exchequer expenditure are pronounced. He has an opinion of his own and does not yield to sycophancy. Be it opposing the mindless populist freebees thrown to lure cheap votes or condemning the hate and divisive politics, he is the first to condemn.

Already he has a beeline of younger boys following him. Boys like Teja are his 15 hour a day companions learning every day on the job from his already 15 plus years of active field experience. He has taken the onus of mentoring the next batch of youngsters with a right value and uncontroversial politicking. Raghavan also enjoys life outside of politics. A loving family man and an entertaining friend to even his closest political rivals from BJP, Congress and PRP. This man sure knows to balance life in good measure.

At the end of the day nothing that changed his personality. I can for instance take him to a local chai shop with my arms around his shoulders spending an evening with laughter, humor and wit just like we used to do 25 years ago as school friends.

Many such unchronicled young leaders in the waiting wings are what which makes the hope of India a viable dream. Sporting, sportive, sanguine, suave, sensible, social, secular and sure young unassuming politicians in the making like Meda Venkatarama aka “Raghavan” A dream away from the present hatred spilling young Turks and old warhorses whose time will come to retire after this visit to the electorate. “Change” therefore is beginning to take shape and the effects expected to fully flower by the next elections. For now its been a promising start.

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