Youth Congress: Proposed 50% Youth Quota Fuels “Age vs. Experience” Debate in Chintan Shivir

A heated debate weighing ‘age versus performance’, ‘youthful energy versus skillful experience’ and ‘exuberance versus stamina’ reportedly raged in the closed-door discussions of Congressmen Chintan Shivir Panel on organizational reforms on the draft proposal for a 50% quota for the under 50 age group in all party panels.

The proposal means that many senior congressional leaders will have to vacate organizational space. This even as the initial request from Congressional change seekers for the relaunch of the Congressional Parliamentary Council has now gone through the committee for final approval by the Congressional Working Committee (CWC).

As part of the closed-door debate – which was ongoing at the time of going to press – efforts are underway to find consensus on the final proposal to the CWC, failing which the matter may be left to the President of Congress or The CWC will give its final form in the statement from Udaipur on Sunday.

Those familiar with the debate said that while there was broad agreement on the need to encourage youth content with the leadership slots, delegates were clearly divided on how to proceed and intended to push a “youth quota” against the “merit of leadership”.

Some delegates argued that instead of a 50% youth quota, cap the internal quota at 50% by including all eligible categories – youth, SC-ST, OBC and minorities.

According to sources, many members – especially representatives of “Team Rahul” who are considered the mastermind behind the concept of “making young people replace elders” – have been pushing for it, saying young people should be increasingly brought into organizational leadership roles and that overage seniors may still be there but in “advisory committees”.

However, many others have learned that in politics it is not age that counts but whether one is “active”, “performing”, “politically adept” and brings the “benefit of experience”. They also referred to some recent failed “youth experiments” on the organizational and electoral fronts and highlighted how the Youth Congress experiment of “holding internal elections: instead of ‘consensus appointments’ does not only led to bickering and using the power of money.The pro-youth side’s proposal for ‘advisory committees for elders’, these leaders reminded them that when Prime Minister Modi created ‘margarshan mandal,” the AICC scoffed at, saying that Congress respects both its elders and its youth.