Old party pitches for the young

Daring greenhorns

Lavanya Narasimhamurthy

The term youth has a liberal connotation in politics. Netas in their forties and higher echelons of power are considered young.

The Congress has strictly followed in principle, the liberal definition of youth and has thus preferred the ‘young brigade’ to contest the panchayat elections in the Bangalore Urban district.

Adherence to this principle is more evident in Bangalore Urban zilla panchayat, which has a total of 34 seats. Deccan Herald could access information on some 30 candidates.
Of the 30 candidates, 17 are in the 20-45 age bracket.

B K Hemalatha (24), contesting from Tavarekere reserved seat, is the youngest among the Congress candidates and Seenappa (63), a two-time ZP member, is the oldest, while five are above 50.

Age matters in elections and plays a crucial role in the selection of candidates.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president G Parameshwara had said priority would be accorded to youth while selecting candidates for elections. General secretary of the All India Congress Committee, Rahul Gandhi, is also promoting the entry of youth into politics.

Youngest pride

The youngest pride of the Congress, 24-year-old Hemalatha, belongs to a politically active family. When this newspaper sought to know what inspired her to enter politics at that age, she gave a cliched reply: “I want to serve the public.”

For men in politics, the fair sex becomes an easy bait to ensure their stay in the field.

They push their wives to contest elections, thanks to 50 per cent reservation for women.

When this reporter tried to contact a few women candidates on the phone, the calls were received by their better halves who were reluctant to hand over the phone to
their wives.

Deccan Herald accessed the academic qualification of 24 candidates contesting the panchayat elections. Among them, only three are postgraduates and five graduates. Four candidates have not even studied up to SSLC, while the rest have studied up to PUC.

Apparently, the academically qualified continue to shy away from politics. Lavanya Narasimhamurthy, contesting from Singanayakanahalli, is the lone MBA graduate from the Congress party. She obtained her degree from the Canara Bank School of Business (Bangalore University) in 2002.

She worked for HCL, a software company in Bangalore, and discontinued as she could not cope with night shifts. She evinced keen interest in joining politics and contested for the gram panchayat elections in April this year, but lost the battle by two votes.

Lavanya is facing a tough battle, as Singanayakanahalli constituency is the native of Yelahanka BJP MLA S R Vishwanath.

For Vishwanath, the victory of the BJP candidate from this constituency in the panchayat elections is a matter of prestige.

‘System can change’

Lavanya said she will expose the irregularities in the allocation of houses for the poor in her constituency and ensure the implementation of all the government schemes in her village. “The system can change if more educated people enter politics. I will launch a war against corruption and ensure the needy get what they are deprived of, if I win,” she said.

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