Some say it will boost youth interest in politics; won’t change much, feel others
Instances of young officers of the all-India civil services entering politics have drawn both appreciation and criticism.
While some say the development will encourage youngsters to evince greater interest in politics, others feel the system governing political parties is so deeply entrenched that new recruits won’t be able to make a difference.
K. Annamalai, a 2011-batch IPS officer, quit the service and joined the BJP in August. Sasikanth Senthil, a 2009-batch IAS officer who resigned last year, joined the Congress on Monday. Both belonged to the Karnataka cadre.
AIADMK legislator and former DGP R. Nataraj, who had spent over 35 years in the IPS, views the actions of the two youngsters as fulfilling the “demand of society” that more and more “qualified, educated and enlightened” individuals should join politics. “When such persons become members of political parties, the youth get drawn to issues concerning public affairs. Besides, as both IAS and IPS provide leadership roles, it is only a natural transition for officers of the two services to get into politics,” he says.
Anusuya Daisy Ernest, former Additional Superintendent of Police and a survivor of the 1991 bomb blast in Sriperumbudur that killed former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and 15 others, joined the Congress a few months ago. The idea behind her decision is to sensitise the younger generation about the gravity of the crime committed nearly 30 years ago. She stresses that political parties are in need of people who have a “long, unblemished track record” in public service.
But P. Sivakami, founder of Samuga Samuthuva Padai and a former IAS officer of the 1980 batch who opted for voluntary retirement in 2008, says, “I don’t think they [new recruits] can effect much change, as the established parties have already set their activities and policies in motion.” Perhaps their experience as IAS or IPS officers would fetch them party tickets to contest the Assembly or Lok Sabha polls. Beyond this, there won’t be any big role for them, she feels. She was earlier in the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and unsuccessfully contested the 2009 Lok Sabha election from Kanniyakumari, on a BSP ticket.
While welcoming the entry of young officers into politics, M.G. Devasahayam, a 1964-batch IAS officer of the Haryana cadre who chose voluntary retirement, cautions that they will face challenges while dealing with the rank and file of the party. Given the structure of the parties, they may become like a “cog in the wheel”. Yet, they have a chance of climbing the ladder as age is on their side, he adds.