HindustanTimes Fri,22 Aug 2014

BJP plans to field 65 to 85 youngsters, including several first-time MLAs

Kumar Uttam, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 11, 2014
First Published: 00:51 IST(11/2/2014) | Last Updated: 01:35 IST(11/2/2014)

The BJP plans to field in the Lok Sabha poll a large number of candidates below the age of 35, with a majority of them contesting the elections for the first time.

As many as 12 crore people would exercise their franchise for the first time in the polls and political parties are leaving no stone unturned to impress them with policies and faces.

This time, the number of first-time voters is greater than the total number of voters polled by any political party in the 2009 election. With the largest number of MPs in the Lok Sabha, the Congress got 11.91 crore votes. 

“We did an experiment in the recent assembly election by fielding young candidates. The results were impressive. Of the 163 BJP MLAs in Rajasthan, 27 are below 35 years.  The number in Madhya Pradesh was equally impressive. We plan to replicate this model at the national level,” BJP president Rajnath Singh told HT.

Though Singh remained tight-lipped about the proportion in which the BJP would field these young candidates, sources privy to the matter claim it could be about 15 to 20%. In 2009, BJP fielded 433 candidates and only 116 of them could win.

Going by the last years’ figures, the number of BJP candidates below 35 years this time could be anything between 65 and 85.

Besides fielding young candidate, the party also plans to field ‘fresh faces’. “Again, in Rajasthan we have 62 first-time MLAs. Fielding a new candidate is one way to fight anti-incumbency faced by individuals,” Singh added.

Would this mean, a significant number of sitting BJP MPs being denied ticket? Singh remained noncommittal on the issue. “The central election committee will take a final decision,” he said. The BJP’s candidate selection exercise is likely to begin after February 21.

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