At 27, Milind Deora, the Congress candidate from Mumbai South, a tiny constituency whose affluence and influence are in inverse proportion to its size, must be among the youngest to run for Parliament.
Son of Congress veteran Murli Deora -- president of the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee for a record 22 years and a Lok Sabha member for four terms before cooling off in the Rajya Sabha -- Milind will take on the Bharatiya Janata Party's Jaywantiben Mehta, a Union minister of state, who defeated his father in 1996 and 1999.
Milind is as different as they come. A management graduate from Boston University, he loves music, and occasionally strums the guitar at local hotspots. There is a buzz among the youth, he says, and the Congress party has got it right.
Milind spoke to Managing Editor Saisuresh Sivaswamy.
So what's a nice guy like you doing in a place like this?
After my education I have been involved in my family business, and in some social initiatives. For one, with an NGO called Sparsh. So I have been involved in serving South Mumbai for the last three years. I am also chairman of the young entrepreneurs wing of the Indian Merchants Chamber.
One very effective way of contributing to your city, nation, is through politics. I felt that with 55 percent of the country being under the age of 25, we have a number of young people who will be voting for the first time in these elections, and it is a great opportunity for someone young.
By young I don't mean just age-wise, but young in the sense of new ideas, a fresh outlook towards politics. Like your own question, what's a good guy like me doing in politics... We need to change that perception to why isn't a good guy like you in politics? Politics should be a place for good guys.
Are you saying the young voters will vote for you only because of your youth?
I don't think youth has anything to do with it. Even a person who is not young can appeal by having new and fresh ideas. But I think today's youth are screaming for change, they want answers from politicians, their elected representatives. And they need people who understand their aspirations. Above all, they are disenchanted with politics because of corruption, criminalisation, lack of accountability. We need someone who is going to change all of that. And they are willing to lay their bets on someone different.
Photographs: Jewella C Miranda
Also see: The Congress' Sonrise
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