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'Political insanity': Odisha's ageing supremos have 'failed' to build second line leaders

By Sudhansu R Das* 

In the party headquarters of major political parties in Bhubaneswar, grassroots workers, leaders and ticket aspirants clashed, broke furniture, exchanged blows, burnt party flags, offices and effigies of leaders much to the delight of the television crew of Odisha. The action packed thrillers in party offices show that discontentment among the party workers is brewing. 
The party workers who have given their youth to the party no longer want to continue as party workers for the rest of their life. Many strong leaders of BJD, Congress and BJP have faded into oblivion due to lack of inclusive opportunities in their parties. 
In the last two decades, many people without political background entered into the political parties of Odisha; they pushed out the original party leaders who had once spent their time and energy to build the party. It is just like somebody growing the tree and the other eating the fruits. 
No political party in India will survive if it allows outsiders to eat the fruits of the tree which is grown by party workers. Real leaders should have the capacity to instill life and energy into the party workers and make them strong leaders. Incapable party supremos look for outsiders to fulfill their selfish interest; in the process they ruin the party. They cause irreparable damage to the party.
Over decades, major political parties in Odisha have failed to groom committed workers into strong visionary leaders. The leaders of the major political parties have disregarded the potential of their own cadres, associates and supporters; they have ignored their knowledge, experience and commitment to the parties. 
Instead of developing leadership skills among the workers, major political parties in Odisha have overused them, wasted their youth and killed their aspiration to become leaders. A true political supremo builds a second line of command with sincerity and dedication. 
But a selfish supremo never allows any young talent to outgrow him in popularity; even in advanced age they try to keep upcoming popular leaders at bay. This is political insanity. Lack of inclusive opportunities and inclusive democracy in political parties rip apart the core strength of the political parties.
Incapable party supremos look for outsiders to fulfill their selfish interest; in the process they ruin the party, causing irreparable damage
It is very essential for party supremos to identify the second line of command; an young and capable leader should replace the old leaders before it is too late. Supremos should retire after 70 years and allow the young leaders to step in. Most of the supremos are clueless to groom young leaders and they look for siblings and close aides for support.
Party supremos, after identifying the next generation of leaders during their first term in power, should educate them. Young leaders should know the profile of each village in their constituency; they should learn to understand the village handicrafts, crop diversity, pilgrim places, forest products, water resources and the infrastructure gaps in the villages. 
They should learn how to stop the over exploitation of the natural resources of the state. Besides, the leaders should know the status of lakes, ground water, green cover, roads, open space, parks and gardens in the city. They should know the status of each heritage place, pilgrim potential and marketing facilities for various products. One out the candidates contesting the elections in Odisha could tell how many water bodies survive in their constituencies. 
None of the candidates fighting elections can elucidate how to protect and preserve the handicraft skills in the state. Nobody has any concrete action plan to protect the idols in the ancient temples of Odisha and how to preserve the rich crop diversity of the state. 
This is intellectual barrenness and a sheer mental tragedy. This is high time for the state’s intellectuals, media and the conscious citizens to shed their bhadralok image in order to hit the roads. There is no other way to save the state.
*Freelance journalist 



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