Youth are being supposed to be the driving force behind the highest ever turnout witnessed in recently concluded Lok Sabha polls. However, they are still languishing in minority when it comes to bag party tickets.
If a candidate up to 50 years of age can be considered as young in politics, the two main parties in the fray BJP and Congress have fielded 37 and 35 per cent young candidates respectively.
However, the newborn Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has tried to change the trend by pitching about 58 per cent youth nominees.
Interestingly, if the criteria of young candidates changes to 40 years instead of 50, then these parties display a dismal show. By this method, AAP has about 31 per cent young candidates, followed by Congress’ 14 per cent and BJP’s 12 per cent respectively.
Heena Gavit (26) and Raksha Khadse (26) are two youngest candidates from the saffron party this time around. From Congress, the youngest contender in this poll is Avinash Devineni (26) who has fought from Vijaywada. The youngest candidate from AAP is Sima Chandravansi (25) who has contested from Chatra.
There are some young and experienced candidates from mainline parties who may get a key role in the next government. If BJP comes to power, Anurag Thakur (39), Varun Gandhi (34), Smriti Irani (38) and Parvesh Verma (36) are among the frontrunners in getting a place in the next government.
Similarly, if Congress gets another chance Deepender Singh Hooda (36), Shruti Choudhry (38), Hadullah Sayeed (31), Meenakshi Natrajan (40) and Nilesh Rane (33), who did not get a berth last time, might book a place in the cabinet.
On the other hand, the parties have again banked upon the old warriors to sail through. In this election, BJP and Congress have also given tickets to octogenarians. From the saffron party the list includes LK Advani (86), O. Rajagopal (84), Kabindra Purkayastha (82), Satyabrata Mukherjee (81), Liladharbhai Vaghela (80) and Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi (80).
The octogenarian candidates from Congress are Bijoy Krishna Handique (82), Kallappa Awade (82), Mainkrao H Gavit (80) and N.S.V. Chittan (80). The oldest candidate from AAP is Daljit Singh (79) who has challenged BJP’s Arun Jaitley and Congress’ Capt. Amarinder Singh from Amritsar this time.
Moreover, Ram Sundar Das (93) of JD (U), the oldest sitting MP in the Lok Sabha, is also of India's oldest candidates in the recently concluded general elections. He has contested from Hajipur in Bihar.
Exhibit 1- Young candidates this election (Candidates under 40 years of age and who are not fighting LS polls for the first time)