BENGALURU: Twenty-two-year-old Ashwini T is the youngest candidate to fight the August 22 elections to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). She is contesting on a Janata Dal (Secular) ticket from Deepanjalinagar ward (reserved for Backward Class-A) under Vijayanagar Assembly constituency.
A resident of Veerabhadra Nagar (Banashankari Stage III), Ashwini is a second-year MCom student at Jain College, Jayanagar 9th Block. The young girl, who takes a BMTC bus to college, told Express that she has taken one month leave to face the upcoming polls. Her opponents are Anupama (BJP) and Anusuya (Congress).
She stays in a joint family of nine members. “My sister leaves home at 6.30 am and returns only at 10 pm. She is trying her best to meet voters and campaign,” Akilesh T, Ashwini’s brother, who accompanies her, told Express. No one from her immediate family is in politics. However, one of her cousins is a JD(S) party worker.
“I always used to discuss people’s problems with my cousin. But I never dreamt of contesting elections or becoming a politician. They approached me to contest the BBMP polls... It was unexpected... I immediately agreed,” she said.
Ashwini said she is yet to decide if she will continue her studies if she wins the polls. “I will check with my college authorities if there is any possibility of a correspondence course,” she said. “If I don’t win, I will continue my studies and look for a job. But I am confident of winning,” she said.
Sharing her campaign experiences, she said, “There is a positive response from the public. They do not take me lightly because of my age. In fact, they express happiness that youngsters like me are coming to them.”
Ashwini’s friends accompany her during weekends on campaigns. At present, her brother, family members and a few residents are taking care of her campaign expenses.
When asked what she wants to do for Bengaluru as a corporator, she said she bats for a greener and cleaner city. Ashwini, who met former PM and JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda for the first time after her candidature was finalised, said, “He spoke well and it was encouraging. He said the party needs young blood like me. This is the happiest moment of my life.”