All of us have ideas about how to run this vast country known as India. And we share these views with relatives and friends pretty often. But if you truly want to put these ideas into action, it’s high time to start a career as an Indian politician.
We have ideas about what we would do if we were the Prime Minister, Defence Minister, Chief Minister or even a local councillor at the municipal corporation.
Every leader that we have today or held important posts in earlier governments, started young. Unless they were popular and could contest elections on the basis of own fame.
In this article, I’ll suggest practical and genuine ways about how to Indian politician. Step by step.
How to Become an Indian Politician
The Constitution of India guarantees political rights to every citizen of this country. The Constitution of India doesn’t discriminate in any manner while giving equal political rights to all legitimate citizens of India.
Hence, every citizen of this country is eligible to make a career as an Indian politician as long as they comply with rules and regulations of the Election Commission of India.
Before providing my step-by-step guide, here’s some important information. Politics in India, like in every other democracy, consists of two vital components. The first is the internal governance of the country.
Second, India’s external relations with countries around the world, especially our immediate and extended neighborhood. Both components are equally important for the success of any Indian leader, their political party and the larger Indian government.
So here’s my guide.
Understand Indian Politics While Young
The perfect time to embark on your journey to become an Indian politician is while you’re at secondary school. Start by reading, watching and listening to political news and current affairs in newspapers, magazines, radio and TV.
This will help you understand a lot about the Indian government’s functioning, the role of the Opposition, India’s foreign relations and their effects on this country as well as upcoming laws, rules and regulations.
Read about India’s pre-independence history, especially after British invaders gained full control of the Indian subcontinent after failure of the First War of Independence in 1857.
You’ll find some of this information in your history text books. More info will appear in a good encyclopedia.
This is very important since India follows the British Parliamentary style of governance. The Indian political system has deep roots in that of 19th century and present-day British systems.
Get to Know Political Parties
There are several active political parties in India. The main political parties currently are Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is in power since 2014 and Indian National Congress (INC) that ruled India for decades after independence in 1947.
In India, we have regional parties that are active in specific states or geographical areas, parties operating on lines of religion and caste as well as those owing allegiance to foreign ideologies such as communism that existed in erstwhile Soviet Union and its vassal states.
There are several reasons why you need to know more about all major political parties. Each party has a different manifesto or agenda.
That means, they have own ideas to rule over India, should they win in a big way during any general election.
Each political party in India was formed at a time when there was a need for their ideology. When a large number of people would believe that a party represents their own ideas on how to rule India. People who held similar beliefs started the political party.
We also have factions- or groups operating as independent political parties. Generally, a faction is loyal to a major political party and follows their agenda and ideology, though with some changes.
Also, read about the founders of these political parties. Understand whether their ideology was helpful for India or made problems for our country.
Attend Political Rallies
Start attending political rallies while young. Here it’s important to understand that you need to attend rallies of every political party and not just the ones your parents or relatives favour.
In India, political rallies are held very frequently. Usually, a local or regional leader will address party workers and supporters at such rallies.
You can get excellent knowledge about a political party, its ideology, what it plans to do and how it intends to govern the country differently by attending political rallies.
You’ll also know who are their leaders and followers. Attending a political rally will help understand why people follow a particular party.
Join Student Wing of Political Party
The next step to become an Indian politician is to enrol as member of the student’s wing of a large political party.
Do this only after you’re well aware of what a political party stands for. Because their student wing will stand for the same ideology and manifesto.
Generally, ABVP and NSUI will be active on every college and university campus. Under Indian laws, they can’t operate in secondary schools or register members below 18 years age.
Hence, you’ll have to await your 18th birthday to join ABVP, NSUI or other student wings of Indian politician parties. There are several advantages of joining student’s wings of a political party.
You’ll get opportunities to perform social work on behalf of the Indian politician parties such as anti-drugs campaigns, collecting donations for victims of natural disasters, helping to organize political rallies of the parent party and of course, meeting top politicians in your area.
Be Ready for Risks
Yes. Risks. Sometimes large risks when you join student’s wing of an Indian politician party. Often student wings conduct demonstrations against the ruling party or a law or some incident.
It is extremely likely that such demonstrations can get violent either due to overenthusiasm by other members or external reasons such as attacks by opponents.
There’s always a threat of suffering injuries or losing your life during such demonstrations.
Also, police and law enforcement agencies sometimes stop a demonstration because it doesn’t have the necessary legal permission or any other reason.
In such cases, police can arrest you and press criminal charges. If the case goes to court, you may have to pay a stiff cash penalty or even spend some time in jail.
A criminal case at a young age can prove a major hurdle in employment and career. Also, under the latest Indian laws, there are restrictions for people with a criminal record to contest elections.
Another risk you face is at your home. If your parents and close relatives support another Indian politician parties, they can force you to abandon membership of a student wing of your choice.
If you don’t obey, they might punish you in different ways such as stopping your higher education.
Start Getting Popular
Considering you’re willing to take these risks, the next step is start getting popular in your area. You can do this with the help of your student’s wing of the Indian politician parties.
Start by organizing public events on sports and culture, awareness campaigns against evils of drug abuse and addiction and other activities of interest to general public. Here, the trick is to get hundreds if not thousands of people in an area to know you.
There’s a risk here too: trying to get popular might not go very well with other members of your student’s wing. They too would love to get popular.
Hence, they might try underhand tricks to try and pull you down by spoiling your image within and outside the student’s wing.
The most common trick that other students use to pull down someone trying to get popular is by creating a sex scandal.
Or by pointing out that you are cheating on money or as drug or alcohol addict. And unfortunately, such tricks usually work, especially if your opponent in the same student’s wing has enough money to buy followers.
Contest College/ University Elections
This is the first acid test you’ll face while making career as an Indian politician. You should register as candidate for your college or university elections.
Generally, every college and university in India elects students as ‘College Representative’. This means, you’ll represent interests of your fellow students and student wing to the Indian politician parties and when necessary, the government and its various branches.
As College or University Representative, you have to meet important people in your area, acquaint yourself with local police and fire brigade officials, and get to know local social workers and community leaders.
This is the first step towards making a career as an Indian politician.
Never Neglect Studies
Upon reading the earlier seven steps, you might wonder whether you’ll have ample time for studies. Yes. You will. And you must make time to study well.
Remember, nowadays the educational qualifications of every politician matters. Regardless whether or not they are ministers or hold some important portfolio.
Exert extra effort at studies so that you can pass a degree with high score. It’s important to excel at studies if you want to make a career as an Indian politician.
Good scores at college add to your popularity. And the subjects you study can prove handy later, if you go as far as winning an election and get some important portfolio to manage. In any case, good scores always help.
Face the Crossroads
So far so good. You’ve got enough knowledge about the political system, are member of a student’s union of a political party and have made yourself popular over student days.
Now what? Generally, most Indian students abandon on to become Indian politician careers at this important crossroads.
Thousands of students who can become excellent leaders are torn between pursuing employment or business and moving forward to make a career as an Indian politician.
It is at this critical crossroads, you have to decide: whether to make a career as an Indian politician or leave in favour or traditional jobs and business.
If you opt for a traditional career, it’s still possible to remain politically active. And if you decide to become an Indian politician, the next step would be to seek membership of the political party.
Here, I’m not taking about ordinary membership that most political parties provide for a lifetime fee of Rs.1 to Rs.5 or more if you wish.
I’m talking about seeking some form of informal employment with a political party. Usually, all political parties takes informal workers and pays some money.
Here, your popularity as student leader, education and other skills come into play.
If you have good relations with the local boss of the political party, there are good chances you’ll get some well-paying work such as local spokesperson or coordinator and posts like that.
Contest Local Elections
Now comes the first step in your march to the state capital and eventually, New Delhi. As office bearer of a political party who enjoys immense popularity, you’ll have to contest the local elections.
This can be for a Gram Panchayat for villages or as councillor in municipal areas. To contest elections, mere popularity is not enough. Your political party needs assurance that you will win the seat.
Hence, you will be in competition with several others to get what is called as a ‘ticket’. A ‘ticket’ to contest elections is not really a ticket.
It’s a mandate or permission from the party leaders to allow you to contest elections as party candidate.
Here, it’s vital to remember that it can take several years to get a party ‘ticket’ to contest elections. Often, giving a ‘ticket’ doesn’t depend upon your local leaders: the decision can sometimes come from the party high command in New Delhi.
Other than just your excellent reputation and work you’re doing for the political party, there will be several other considerations.
A political party can base its decision to give you a ticket or not depending upon your family background, caste, religion, social status and countless other factors.
The party has to decide whether you are the right candidate depending upon the type of voters in a particular constituency.
This is a sad state because in India, voters decide to elect a candidate on basis of caste, religion, family background and many other considerations.
Often, your good work would be forgotten in favour of a candidate whom your party believes, would be right for a particular constituency.
Winning & Beyond
Let’s assume you’ve got the ‘ticket’ to contest an election. The political party will bear expenses related to your election campaign.
You’ll have to create a manifesto that promises various benefits for people if you win the elections. It can be anything from more public toilets to lowering taxes.
Generally, all political parties have campaign planners and event management companies to hold rallies and public meetings.
Some will even give you a readymade speech for the rally. At such rallies, your job is to convince people to vote for you.
They have to feel confident that if you win the elections, you’ll provide some solutions to their common problems.
Regardless of whether you lose or win the election, it’s still important to maintain your image as an excellent social worker and a person of good nature.
You’ll have to rush to assist people that seek your help, even if you aren’t the councillor of that area and have no political powers.
You’ll still have to perform all tasks by approaching your opponents that are in power. Such tasks require quick, calculative thinking and excellent diplomacy.
Maintaining an image is important to ensure you remain eligible to contest in the next elections. Who knows, you might get lucky and all the hard work and extra efforts might pay off and help you become a councillor.
After this, you can contest in any elections to become Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) in state government or Member of Parliament (MP) in the national government.
Other Ways to Make Career as an Indian Politician
There are several other ways to make a career as an Indian politician. And none of them are easy.
- Become Bollywood or regional movie star: Several political parties will give you a ticket simply because of your popularity.
- Contest as Independent Candidate: You can contest any elections in India as an independent candidate. You have to be compliant with all standards set by the Election Commission of India to contest polls as independent candidate.
- Minority Representative: The Indian government appoints persons that are contributing significantly for development of a minority community directly to state and Central government. In such cases, you don’t need to contest elections: you will be elected on basis of your work for the community.
- Political Appointee: A government sometimes nominates a member of its party as ‘political appointee’. Usually, political appointees are temporarily given the status of an Indian diplomat and serve at Indian embassies in foreign countries. In India, such appointments are rare.
Basic Requirements for Political Career in India
Other than your educational qualifications, political parties look for certain basic qualities in their cadres.
- Excellent communication skills in a local language, Hindi and English
- Pleasant personality
- Superb interpersonal skills and ability to get along with people from different background
- Persons belonging to specific castes or ethnic groups, minority religions and communities
- People from exceptionally famous families such as business houses, descendants of erstwhile royal families, large families or tribes who can influence a significant number of voters
A lot of evil things are said about Indian politics by none other than citizens of our country like you and I.
Unfortunately, few people actually venture into politics because the field is full of uncertainties. Few Indians are willing to leave comfort zones and venture into politics.
The face of Indian politician is changing rapidly. People are no longer willing to accept corruption and corrupt leaders.
While we may lament that few youngsters are entering Indian politics, it is also worth noting that ruling a country of the size of India is no cakewalk.
Each state of India is in different level of development and hence, has unique problems and advantages.
To make a career as an Indian politician, it’s important to fully understand the strengths and weaknesses of our country- both internally and on the international scene.