Lok Sabha Election 2019: BJP's inclusion of youths from non-political backgrounds is a good start ahead of polls

  • Dynasty hasn’t been wiped out entirely from the saffron party’s federal hierarchy but its impact has thinned out.

  • First generation BJP voter in his family, Varun Jamwal wanted to contribute his legal skills to the party.

  • 30-year-old Abhishek Mishra has started appearing on TV debates as a young spokesperson of the BJP.

The BJP has surprised many within its Karnataka unit by picking Tejasvi Surya, a young lawyer from Bengaluru who is the general secretary of the Yuva Morcha in the city, over late Union Minister Ananth Kumar’s wife Tejaswini.

Tejasvi is the nephew of Ravi Subramanya, three-time MLA from Basavanagudi. Dynasty hasn’t been wiped out entirely from the saffron party’s federal hierarchy but its impact has thinned out. The party that campaigns as extensively on social media as on the booth level feels it can benefit from the agility, skill and acumen of those from non-political backgrounds. Firstpost spoke to some young leaders who have contributed to the party in the recent years.

Ravi Ghiyar, a mechanical engineering student at NIT Surat, started a Facebook page called ‘Namo 4 PM’ in 2008 because he was fed up of the ‘one-sided’ narrative about Modi and the government in the mainstream media. “I wanted to bring out Modi’s vision and the development that benefited us out in the media, and since mainstream media wasn’t interested in talking about it, I started a Facebook page,” said Ravi, who later closely worked with the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s team on social media.

 Lok Sabha Election 2019: BJPs inclusion of youths from non-political backgrounds is a good start ahead of polls

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Ravi Ghiyar, a 21-year-old student at NIT Surat.

He comes from a middle-class Patidar family in Surat and he claimed that the prime minister's team wouldn’t interfere with his research and social media experiments. From 2012 to 2017, state elections to the 2014 national elections, Ravi has been able to carve interesting roles in the social media wings of Modi’s BJP.

First generation BJP voter in his family, Varun Jamwal wanted to contribute his legal skills to the party "to further Modi’s vision". A lawyer in the Supreme Court, Jamwal is the co-convener of the legal cell of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM). He started by helping West Delhi’s Parvesh Varma plan his 2014 campaign. In the last couple of years, 150 lawyers from 31 states have been running a campaign to increase awareness of legal rights among women.

“We carry the banner in our bags and our vans and offer legal assistance wherever we encounter atrocities against women. It is quite common for women to not have the courage to approach courts and register complaints. The campaign is micro-managed by five to six BJYM centres in every state,” he said. He pointed out that people on the ground who are finding it difficult to access government schemes also approach their legal cell for assistance.

“We offered people assistance in accessing Mudra Yojana, Jan Dhan Yojana and Ujjwala Yojana,” he said, adding that young people from places like Faisabad, Ayodhya, and from the pocket borough of Telangana Rashtriya Samithi, message him to ask him how they can contribute to the party. “For people from non-political backgrounds, nothing is more exciting than the ability to be able to participate in democratic change. Political parties must offer this chance to ordinary people,” he said.

Thirty-year-old Abhishek Mishra has started appearing on TV debates as a young spokesperson of the BJP. His father worked at a pharma company and his mother is a housewife, but he got noticed by BJP’s Shripad Yesso Naik when he was freelancing for Navhind Times and Gomantak Times as a high school student. He later went on to study political science at Mumbai University and joined the ABVP.

"If you have skill and your ideologies align with theirs, the ABVP gives you a chance to grow. I was noticed by the senior leadership when I gave a speech on Naxalism at an ABVP event,” he said, adding that though Tejaswi Surya has political lineage and that does offer people some degree of advantage, in the long run, dynasty doesn’t matter within the party. “A bloodline will offer you a headstart but the game is intensely skill-driven within the party,” he said.

Kapil Parmar, National Head Social Media & IT of the BJP Youth Wing, hails from Hamirpur, the constituency of Anurag Thakur. “I come from a state with only four Lok Sabha seats. When he (Thakur) became a prominent figure in national politics, I realised I wanted to work for him as a social media volunteer. At that point, back in 2010, few leaders like Modi and Shashi Tharoor were making good use of Twitter,” said Parmar, who also holds an MBA degree from Pune’s Symbiosis University.

He admits to have always wanted to join politics but when he became able enough to join a political movement, it was BJP’s outreach that attracted him the most. “We use social media as a vehicle to engage the youth. The media will tell you negative stories about the IT cell but we use technology to educate people about government schemes. For instance, what happens after a Jan Dhan account opens? What is the Stree Swabhiman scheme that enables women to manufacture sanitary pads?” he said. He also talked about a Bollywood dialogue creative he has recently worked on, to urge first time voters to come out and vote.

“The BJP offers more challenges and opportunities. I worked with Himanta Biswa Sarma closely for many years even in the Congress and the struggle for recognition for hard work is a real one,” said the 41-year-old Piyush Hazarika, Minister of State, Urban Development, Health & Family welfare (State) in the Government of Assam. He is often called the right hand man of Sarma, the leader from the North East who defected to BJP from Congress in 2016.

Hazarika told Firstpost that whether it's Tarun Gogoi’s son Gaurav or Santosh Mohan Dev’s daughter Susmita, dynasty translates into instant success in the Congress, and that leaves the other leaders within the party disillusioned.

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Updated Date: Mar 28, 2019 14:01:19 IST