The international media attention, he said, was a surprise. BV Srinivas, president of the Indian Youth Congress (IYC) has been interviewed in recent weeks by national and international media from the New York Times to CNN International and has been hailed as a real hero during the Covid era.
When he finally agreed to a phone interview, he was expected to be media savvy and articulate. It would be a pleasant surprise for some and a disappointment for many because he turned out to be shy, mute and somewhat reluctant. Not your usual politician.
Srinivas (39) was appointed full-time president in December 2020 after serving as interim president for more than a year of the IYC, established in 1960.
A student at the National College, Basavanagudi, in Bangalore, he began his political career as a member of the NSUI at the university. He joined IYC in 2006, contested organizational elections in 2011, was elected at the bloc level, served as Secretary General in Karnataka and Secretary General and Vice President of All India before being appointed to head the organization. So much for the lack of internal democracy in Congress.
From counseling young people who lost their jobs during the pandemic to organizing food, accommodation and transport for migrant workers, from distributing free masks and disinfectants to organizing oxygen, beds of intensive care, plasma and finally organizing the cremation of corpses – Srinivas and his team touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of Indians and includes BJP leaders, BJP supporters and even foreign diplomats, although he is curiously reluctant to talk about it.
By the time we finished talking I asked how many calls he had missed and he later confirmed that there had been 30 missed calls in the 20 minutes or so that we spoke. Excerpts from the interview: