Generational change in Kerala Congress’ candidates list has Rahul Gandhi’s touch

Generational change in Kerala Congress’ candidates list has Rahul Gandhi’s touch

The candidates list announced by Congress for the assembly elections in Kerala has Rahul Gandhi’s touch to it. The list shows a decent input of fresh blood in the state. 55% of the candidates are new faces and more than 60% are in the 25-50 age group.

Aritha Babu

On 14th March Congress announced the list of 86 candidates for the upcoming assembly elections in Kerala. The crucial assembly elections in Kerala are all set to take place on 6th April. The party has managed to outsmart its main rival, ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) by fielding fresh faces and qualified candidates.

The party is contesting in 95 seats (out of 140). Among the 86 candidates in the list, 44 are debutants. Only three candidates are above 70, including former CM Oommen Chandy, and only eight women figured in the list.

The list of candidates includes people like Aritha Babu who is a 27-year-old girl next door. Hailing from a small farming family, she is the Congress candidate from Kayamkulam assembly constituency in Alappuzha district. Talking about Congress’s move to choose fresh faces, Babu said, “It is really good as many youngsters have been given seats this time. I think this is the first time the party has fielded so many fresh faces and it really shows the generational shift in the party. I really thank party leader Rahul Gandhi for this.”

She will be up against the sitting MLA Pratiba Hari of the CPI (M) and NDA’s Pradeep Lal.

Seeking vote on Congress ticket in Varkala, Kollam district, another 32 year old candidate namely BRM Shafeer comes from a poor family. While pursuing his studies, he was a rubber tapper for many years.

Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said, “Our leader Rahul Gandhi was keen on young faces and at least 55% of our candidates are fresh ones.” He further said that Babu and Shafeer were classic examples of this approach.

Meanwhile, the ruling CPI(M) has also included many young candidates. At least four front candidates are under 30. The secretary of the party-backed Students’ Federation of India (SFI) Sachin Dev (28) is the youngest among all. Dev, contesting from Balussery in north Kerala’s Kozhikode district pointed that CPI (M) gives chance to young blood unlike some congress leaders who are holding on to their seats for more than 30 to 40 years.

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