Top 5 Voices Of Sanity in Political Debates

11 Apr,2014


By Shailesh Kapoor


The General Elections are finally here. Even as the nation goes to polls, the quality of political debate has hit an all-time low. From Rahul Gandhi’s imbecile answers to vitriolic personal attacks by stray politicians (including one who said he will chop Narendra Modi to pieces) to using the Indian Army to polarise votes, I thought I had seen it all. And then yesterday, Mulayam Singh Yadav decided to make light of gangrape by calling it as a “mistake” young boys could make.


Expecting a bit of courtesy, intelligence and maturity in political discourse is perhaps asking for too much. Even Narendra Modi’s language comes across as uncouth at times; language that’s certainly not befitting a potential Prime Minister. But if one’s benchmark is a Prime Minister who hardly communicated for 10 years, one should not be too demanding.


In the midst of this class-less and even dangerous pitch, some politicians stand out as being the odd ones. Here’s my pick of five politicians who have brought some sanity to the degenerating political debate:


5. Abhishek Manu Singhvi: It is difficult to pick a Congress talking head who makes sense these days, but Singhvi comes across as the most articulate and well-mannered of the lot. He is no political heavyweight himself, unlike some others on this list. But he communicates well, even in the midst of what are turning out to be by far the roughest elections for his party.


4. Rajnath Singh: Even as Modi plays to the gallery via the lowbrow route, BJP chief Rajnath Singh has maintained dignity and composure throughout this campaign. He is evidently the back-end man here, keeping the pieces together, while leaving the talking to others. But when he speaks, he makes an impression alright, especially with his clarity of thought. Is there a chance he may be the compromise choice for the top position if NDA falls short by a small margin and other parties give support under the condition that Modi should not be the PM? Let’s wait for May 16.


3. Derek O’Brien: The quizmaster turned Trinamool Congress leader has the unenviable task of defending the indefensible at times. His party chief Mamata Banerjee suffers from occasional bouts of the foot-in-mouth disease, but O’Brien is now well experienced in handling the mess. He has gift of the gab, and can even be cheekily entertaining at times. I have a feeling we will hear a lot more of him after May 16, as TMC may end up playing a crucial role at the Centre.


2. Jay Panda: I find the BJD leader by far the most affable face in Indian politics today. He is always soft-spoken and dignified, and never short of deep knowledge and a clear view on the subject matter. Read his Wiki page to know what a model Member of Parliament could be!


1. Smriti Irani: Throw the ‘actors can’t become serious politicians’ argument out of the window right away. Smriti Irani means business. Having struggled her way up the ranks in BJP, she has now got the exposure and the confidence that will catapult her in to top league soon. Irani is super entertaining too. Her sarcasm can be scathing at times, yet never unreasonably personal. In the true sense, she combines the qualities of a good politician and a good actor. Watch her recent Aap Ki Adalat episode with Rajat Sharma or her chat with Barkha Dutt earlier this week and you are sure to root for her. She is all set to stretch Rahul Gandhi in Amethi. More power to Smriti Irani and her commitment to a political career.


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3 responses to “Top 5 Voices Of Sanity in Political Debates”

  1. Lloyd Mathias says:

    AAP’s Yogendra Yadav & Arishi Marlena certainly make more sense than some of the worthies on this list!
    And BJP’s Nirmala Sitharaman is more knowledgeable, articulate & less condescending than Smriti!

  2. Ranjona Banerji says:

    Smriti Irani is “never unreasonably personal”? Why get personal at all?

  3. V Kulkarni says:

    Smriti Irani, seriously??!! Would opt for Kiron Kher instead. Duh!