For Lubna Asif (25) — one of the youngest candidates in the fray for the Lok Sabha polls from Gautam Buddh Nagar constituency — the decision to plunge into the hurly burly of politics was not sudden. A journalist by profession who also runs her NGO for underprivileged women belonging to the minority community, Asif felt that to bring about a perceptible difference in their lives she needed a bigger platform.
“Politics, I knew, would provide me that platform. I have been tinkering with the idea (of joining politics) for sometime. I spoke to my friends and everybody was apprehensive. They said politics is not for ordinary people. But then everybody has to make a beginning somewhere. There is no point in just talking about how things are not right in this country. As educated citizens, I think the onus is on us to take responsibility,” she said.
Asif is contesting on an All India Minority Front ticket and knows that her maiden experience in electoral politics is not going to be a cakewalk. For, contesting from the Gautam Buddh Nagar seat, her rivals include some of the local political heavyweights like Mahesh Sharma of the BJP and Ramesh Nagar of the BSP.
But she is not rattled. A journalism graduate from the University of Western Ontarion, Asif said unless young, educated people get directly involved in the political process, things won’t change.
With her sister Laika by her side and a handful of friends, Asif has started campaigning — visiting far-flung villages in her constituency — and asking for vote. “Everywhere I go people are surprised to see somebody so young asking for their votes. I tell them about my agenda. Some are convinced, others are amused,” she said.
For her, the main issues will be to ensure education for girls and safety of women. “In villages of Gautam Buddh Nagar, girls are made to leave school after five. This needs to change,” she said.
Asked about her family’s reaction to her joining politics, she said, “They have been very supportive. My father is the president of All India Minority Front, the party I am contesting from. So even as children, we were politically more aware than others.”