Most of Anusha Valpadasi's friends are excited about casting votes for the very first time in the upcoming civic elections. The 21-year-old, however, has a much greater reason to be excited about February 16. Valpadasi is the youngest candidate in the fray in the 2012 civic elections.
A third year student of biotech engineering from MGM college, Navi Mumbai, Valpadasi is representing Shiv Sena from ward number 176 in Dharavi. "I have always wanted to do something for the area where I have lived and grown up," Valpadasi said. "Becoming a corporator will open avenues for me to make things better."
Anusha has been working with the Aditya Thackeray-led Yuva Sena for the last few months. Sources from the party say that she has been given the ticket as her brother Ravindra Kodam has been an office bearer with the party for the last 15 years, and the ward she is contesting from has been reserved for OBC women.
Anusha, however, is hoping she can make a positive difference. "Youngsters no longer think politics is a dirty profession. The youth should come forward and take charge of the situation to improve the city," Anusha said.
If elected, Valpadasi could be one of the youngest corporators in the civic body. In her poll pitch, Anusha has promised to take up issues such as education and sanitation. The importance of education isn't lost on the 21-year-old, who appeared for her practical exams last week even as she was busy planning her campaign strategy.
Whether she gets people's votes or not, Anusha's early leap into active politics has already made her a star in her college.