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Mainstream parties ignore youth power

The Grand Old Party may be fielding bachchas like Milind Deora and Sachin Pilot to re-brand itself as the party of ? and for ? the young. But care to guess which party has the highest number of candidates between the age of 25 and 40?
PTI | By Indrajit Hazra, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON APR 25, 2004 02:58 AM IST

The Grand Old Party may be fielding bachchas like Milind Deora and Sachin Pilot to re-brand itself as the party of  — and for — the young. But care to guess which party has the highest number of candidates between the age of 25 and 40? With 109 candidates in the under-41 category, the honours go to the youthful BSP. The SP also has a healthy flow of  young blood with 57 under-41s in the poll fray. The Congress, rather surprisingly for many, finds itself ahead of the BJP by fielding 34 candidates in the same category. (The BJP has 32). But as if to reassure us that stereotypes have their value, the party of Rahul Gandhi and Jyotiraditya Scindia also has the highest number of candidates above the age of 70 — 26 of them. The BJP follows with 18 septuagenarians — two of them being the PM and his deputy.

‘Political youthfulness’ can, of course, be stretched up to the mid-50s. The maximum number of candidates between the age of 41 and 55 belongs to the BJP (137). The BSP, with 119, and the Congress with 116, follow the chronologically-friendly trail. One explanation why the Left isn’t too full of vim these days could be explained by the fact that the combined forces of the CPI, CPI(ML) and CPI(M) have only 30 under-41 candidates.

So is it a case of more youngsters the merrier? The BJP’s Manabendra Shah, contesting from Tehri Garhwal, certainly doesn’t think so. A sprightly man of 83, he knows that elections are never  only about numbers.

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