Among the many cute arguments that have been advanced for the surprise Congress win in the 2009 elections is the “young face” it presented to a nation 56% of which is below 25 years of age.
The fresh, eager, bubbling, innocent, positive faces, it has been argued, were in contrast to the old, tired, negative, cynical fossils like you-know-who that were strutting around on TV.
And, as is the current mantra, all credit for that is being laid at the door of the uncrowned king, Rahul Gandhi.
His vision and sagacity, and his desire to plough a lonely furrow despite being born with a silver spoon held by the SPG, it is being said, have singularly transformed the fortunes of the party which was staring at the bottom of the electoral barrel by making it more palatable to the young.
Are the “new faces” new faces? Or are they just old wine in younger bottles?
Are we seeing an end to Congress sycophancy? Or just a generational shift in Congress sycophancy?
The right-wing newspaper The Pioneer, whose editor Chandan Mitra is a Rajya Sabha member nominated by the BJP, says “most of the three dozen-odd young Congress MPs have a family background in politics which has helped them catapult to the national stage without much effort.”
Only two of the young MPs who have been elected for the firsrt time do not have any political legacy to fall back on: Meenakshi Natarajan from Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh, and Ashok Tanwar, from Sirsa in Haryana.
As for the rest…
Mohammed Hamdulla Sayeed: son of P.M. Sayeed
Sandeep Dikshit: son of Shiela Dikshit
Jagan Mohan Reddy: son of Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy
Deepinder Hooda: son of B.S. Hooda
Nilesh Rane: son of Narayan Rane
Jyoti Mirdha: grand-daughter of Ram Nivas Mirdha
Mausam Noor: grand daughter of Ghani Khan Chaudhary
Pratik Patil: grandson of Vasantdada Patil
Shruti Chaudhary: grand-daughter of Bansi Lal, daughter of Kiran Chaudhary
Raveent Singh: grandson of Beant Singh
Vijay Inder Singla: son of Surinder Singla
Jyotiraditya Scindia: son of Madhav Rao Scindia
Sachin Pilot: son of Rajesh Pilot
Jitin Prasada: son of Jitendra Prasada
Milind Deora: son of Murli Deora
Priya Dutt: daughter of Sunil Dutt
To that list of the victors, you could also add one of the vanquished: Krishna Byre Gowda, son of C. Byre Gowda.
* or plus ça change, plus c’est pareil, meaning the more things change, the more they stay the same