PM Modi rose like a wave in the 2014 elections. ‘Modi wave’ has since become a central expression in India’s political lexicon and this wave has changed the Indian political landscape forever. Many prominent faces which used to dominate Indian politics have faded into oblivion now. Since the Congress faced back-to-back defeats at the national and state levels, many leaders who once formed the very core of the UPA cabinet have either faded into oblivion or have sidelined themselves. Similarly, many regional parties have become irrelevant and their leaders have been forced to retire.
We bring a list of 15 such politicians who were once quite famous but have faded into oblivion now.
- Lalu Prasad Yadav
To be honest, his party is not yet totally decimated in the state of Bihar. However, Lalu has been out of power for way too long now and has effectively retired from active politics. His legal troubles and jail sentences have only made things more complicated for him.
- Mulayam Singh Yadav
Mulayam was once the Chief Minister of the country’s most populous state. More importantly, he was a Prime Minister hopeful. However, PM Modi’s rise to power in 2014 and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s emergence in 2017 changed everything. Today, Mulayam Singh Yadav is in no position to nurse Prime Ministerial ambitions and his party doesn’t look like posing a stiff challenge to the BJP in UP either.
- Ghulam Nabi Azad
He has not retired practically. But last month, he hinted at ‘retirement’ from politics. A longtime Congress leader, Azad is one of many INC leaders who seem to have been affected deeply by INC’s unstoppable decline since 2014.
- Manik Sarkar
There was a time when ex-Tripura CM Manik Sarkar was highly popular with the mainstream media. He was given the tag of the ‘poorest CM’ as he used to donate his entire salary to the CPI(M).
Read more: Manik Sarkar used to donate his salary to his party. CM Biplab Deb donates his salary towards cleaning the state
However, the 2018 Assembly elections changed everything. The BJP secured a landslide victory and the CPI(M) was pushed out of power in the state. Sarkar, who was once a famous CM, has faded into oblivion now.
- Salman Khurshid
Becoming the External Affairs Minister is no mean achievement. However, Khurshid achieved that during the UPA era. But just like many other Congress leaders, Khurshid has faced many years out of power courtesy of INC’s poor performance. And gradually, he too has got sidelined in Indian politics.
- Meira Kumar
The daughter of former Deputy Prime Minister Jagjivan Ram, Meira Kumar had quite a political career under several Congress-led governments. She served as a Union Minister in the UPA government and was also elected as the Lok Sabha Speaker. She also ran for President in 2017 but again, when you are a Congress leader in today’s time, there is not much that you can do to stay active.
- Sushil Kumar Shinde
Shinde’s career was quite extraordinary. He started as a sub-inspector in his young days and ultimately rose to the level of Union Home Minister, which is considered the second most powerful political office in the country.
But you don’t get to hear about him now. Ever since the INC’s endless slide began, Shinde got side-tracked in Indian politics.
In the 1990s, no one could have thought that Lal Krishna Advani would ever seem inactive in Indian politics. He is the one who made BJP popular at the national level with the ‘rath-yatra’.
However, he couldn’t help his party come to power in 2004 and 2009. And once, PM Modi rose to prominence, Advani’s political career came to an end for all practical purposes.
- Murli Manohar Joshi
Murli Manohar Joshi belongs to the same era as former Union Home Minister L.K. Advani.
Once a part of BJP’s core leadership, Joshi is no longer active. Times have changed. Firstly, he is quite old at an age of 88 years and secondly, the rise of a new generation in the BJP has led to his lack of centrality in active politics.
- Mani Shankar Aiyar
Once a Minister in the Manmohan Singh government, Aiyar hogged the limelight for his chaiwala jibe and other unsavoury remarks against PM Modi.
Read more: Leaders like Mani Shankar Aiyar are the reason why Diplomats are not considered fit for political posts
However, given the swelling support for PM Modi in the country, personal attacks against the Prime Minister don’t seem to have helped Aiyar’s political career.
- Prakash Karat
BJP’s rise is associated with INC’s decline. However, it is the left that is totally antagonized to BJP ideology. And therefore, BJP’s rise has decimated the left. Therefore, it is no surprise that Karat, who served as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of India from 2005 to 2015, is no longer in the news.
- Chandrababu Naidu
Naidu is a peculiar case of a BJP ally harming itself during PM Modi’s rise. Naidu unnecessarily crossed swords with the BJP and the results are for everyone to see. Once, Naidu was considered the face of development in Andhra Pradesh but today, his party is struggling to stay relevant.
- AK Antony
Antony was once a part of the core Congress leadership. He was even made the Defence Minister of India for eight long years.
But his party has been out of power for eight long years now. Therefore, Antony deemed it fit to announce his retirement from active politics earlier this year.
- Shivraj Patil
Shivraj Patil is another tall Congress leader of the yesteryears who is no longer at the centre of Indian politics. He had served as the Lok Sabha Speaker in the 1990s and later as the Union Home Minister in the UPA era. But the same old story repeated itself and post 2014, he could never get a chance to make any impact.
- Jayanthi Natrajan
The former Environment Minister was perhaps the first Congress leader to understand that the INC has no future left. In 2015, she resigned from the party and also made it clear that she had no intentions of joining any other party which effectively meant a voluntary retirement from politics.
PM Modi’s rise has thus left many political careers sabotaged and some prominent faces of past years have been made irrelevant.