Elections

First Time Candidates Of Lok Sabha Elections: Breath Of Fresh Air Or Old Wine In New Bottle?

Outlook looks at first-time candidates making their mark in the electoral ring.

(L-R) Kangana Ranaut, Pemmasani Chandra Shekhar and Yashaswini Sahay.
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The on-going Lok Sabha elections 2024 have many interesting facets including being the most expensive elections till now to having the largest electorate in the world with almost 97 crore registered voters. Out of these 97 crores, around 19 crores are in the age group of 20-29 and 1.85 crore are first time voters in the age group of 18-19 according to Election Commission of India (ECI) data. These two age groups constitute around 22 per cent of the total registered voters and could impact the outcome of these elections.    

Another interesting aspect of these elections is some of the young and/or first time candidates. They are making their mark in the electoral ring. What will be the impact of these young or first-time candidates and young voters on the general elections, we will know on June 4, when the results are announced. Outlook looks at some of these candidates and how they are making these elections interesting.

Ujjwal Nikam, 71, the now former special public prosecutor, has been fielded by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from Mumbai North Central Lok Sabha constituency. He was required to resign from his post before entering the fray; he submitted his resignation to Maharashtra government which was swiftly accepted. Nikam has represented the state in many case including Gulshan Kumar murder, Pramod Mahajan murder, 1993 Bombay blasts and 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. During the Mumbai attacks case trial Nikam had alleged that the lone surviving terrorist of the attack, Ajmal Kasab, was being served biryani in jail. In 2015, he admitted to have ‘cooked up’ the claim to ‘break the public opinion being formed in favour of the accused’.

In Jharkhand, Congress’ candidate from Ranchi is Yashaswini Sahay. She is the daughter of senior Congress leader and former union minister, Subodh Kant Sahay. A lawyer by profession she is the first women candidate from Ranchi Lok Sabha constituency.Telugu Desham Party (TDP) has nominated Pemmasani Chandra Shekhar from Guntur Lok Sabha constituency. He is an NRI doctor who made headlines after he filed his nomination for being the richest candidate of the general elections 2024. He has declared assets worth more than Rs. 5,000 crore. BJP has also given ticket to Hindi films actress, Kangana Ranaut, from Mandi, Himachal Pradesh. Ranaut has joined a fairly long list of film and television actors who have joined politics.

A National Award winner, Ranaut’s last few films did not attract much box office success or critical acclaims. However, snippets from her campaign trails are going viral on social media; in some she is even seen revoking the ‘Hindu identity’ to garner votes.These are but a few names on the list of first-time candidates. India is a parliamentary democracy where voters don’t elect Prime Minister but send their representatives to the parliament. Although Indian politics was never void of cult figures and hero worshipping, but in last few years the attempts to turn the elections into a clash of personalities have intensified. It will be interesting to see how the first-time candidates fit into the grand arena of Indian politics; will they create their own identity or get blurred in the background of larger-than-life leaders.  

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