They say ‘politics is no child’s play’. Well, it seems today’s young generation is politically aware and plans to change the face of Indian politics. Young professionals from diverse fields like doctors, engineers, actors, and cricketers are chucking their highly paid jobs to join politics. And surely it is a refreshing feel to the Lok Sabha Elections 2019. The aim of these youngsters is clear – to get rid of caste politics, increase development and deliver justice for the lesser privileged people. These young contenders made headlines for both good and bad reasons. Among them are Kanhaiya Kumar, Birendra Kumar, Tejasvi Surya, Chandrashekhar Azad, and Atishi Marlena, to name a few.
Twenty-eight-year-old BJP candidate for South Bengaluru is known for making controversial remarks. He recently made headlines for his remark, ‘Hindu can never be a terrorist’. He is said to be the youngest candidate of BJP and is also the general secretary of the BJP’s youth wing in Karnataka. He is contesting against Congress’ BK Hariprasad. He has also been associated with RSS and has no qualms on calling him a communal fanatic.
One of his tweets from 2018 reads, “Call me a bigot, communal fanatic or whatever. But the singular reason for BJP’s defeat in Jayanagar is the complete consolidation of the Muslim vote. Look at the below numbers from Gurappanapalya, a Muslim locality. BJP must ‘really’ become a Hindu party & not just be perceived as one.”
For 32-year-old Kanhaiya Kumar, it is the first election and he is right under the spotlight for contesting from Bihar’s Begusarai against BJP leader and Union Minister Giriraj Singh and RJD’s Tanweer Hassan. Kumar came into the limelight in February 2016, when he was a Ph.D. scholar in Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). He was the President of JNU’s students’ union and was accused of raising the slogan of ‘azadi’ during an event on the JNU campus organised to protest the hanging of Afzal Guru in the Parliament attack case in 2001. He was arrested and produced before the Patiala House Court. While he was in jail, academics, student and activists rallied in his support.
A practicing chartered accountant and leader of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Raghav Chadha is contesting South Delhi constituency against BJP’s Ramesh Bidhuri. For the elections, he was endorsed by actors Prakash Raj and Gul Panag, and student leaders of JNU.
Bengali actress Nusrat Jahan is contesting from Basirhat on a Trinamool Congress (TMC) ticket. She is also said to probably be the first Muslim superstar in the Bengali film industry to contest elections.
Born in 1993, Biraj Deka is considered to be the youngest contender in the Lok Sabha Elections 2019. She is contesting on a Communist Party of India-Marxist ticket from Assam’s Kokrajhar.
Twenty-eight-year-old Sneha Kale is contesting from Mumbai North-Central seat as an independent candidate. She is contesting the election with an aim to draw government’s attention to issues of the transgender community. Kale is the first transgender to run in the parliamentary elections.
Former JNU student and activist Birendra Kumar is an independent candidate contesting from the Godda Lok Sabha constituency. He is contesting against BJP’s two-time MP Nishikant Dubey and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) Pradeep Yadav. Birendra was an active member of the protests by Adivasis over land, forest, and natural resources.
Umesh Babu Pillegowda
Tech graduate and former assistant professor of engineering Umesh Babu Pillegowda is an independent candidate from Bengaluru North constituency. The 31-year-old candidate is among the 33 candidates contesting from the constituency.
A Rhodes Scholar and education expert, Atishi Marlena is contesting on an AAP ticket from the East Delhi constituency. The 37-year-old is pitted against Gautam Gambhir. Atishi has recently filed a complaint with Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) against her BJP rival Gambhir for allegedly circulating derogatory pamphlets.
Son of former deputy CM of Maharashtra Ajit Pawar, Parth Pawar is contesting on an NCP ticket from the Maval constituency. He is contesting against Shiv Sena candidate Shrirang Barne. Parth is the grand-nephew of NCP chief Sharad Pawar. He is the third generation member of the Pawar family.