Young MLAs of the Congress party who kept their first steps inside Vidhan Bhavan were an excited and confident lot. Dhiraj Mishra caught up with Panvel MLA Prashant Thakur and Sholapur Central MLA Praniti Shinde on their first day as MLA inside Vidhan Bhavan. In its first major electoral battle after the 2009 Lok Sabha poll, the Congress had pinning its hope on Rahul Gandhi’s youth plank. As the party announced its first list of candidates for assembly elections in the crucial states of Maharashtra and Haryana, a large number of fresh candidates — mostly with Youth Congress background were allotted tickets. In Maharashtra, a substantial 74 out of 159 seats were allotted to first timers. Ever since Rahul Gandhi appeal seemed to have worked with the voters, people in all states want to see fresh candidates. Specifically in Maharashtra where the democratic front has been in power for 10 years, fresh faces that are now being seen within Vidhan Bhavan seemed to be inducing fresh momentum in the government. Not many know that Rahul Gandhi had mooted the idea of giving ‘tough seats’ — places where the party is losing for a long time — to young candidates with Youth Congress background. One example being fielding Prashant Thakur in Panvel constituency and his gamble paid off well during the election. As one saw young faces like young MLA from Sholapur Central Praniti Shinde – daughter of Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Panvel Constituency MLA Prashant Thakur, their confidence had ‘Rahul-theory’ stamped on it. The media caught up with Praniti Shinde after the first meeting of the newly elected parliamentary body of the state in Vidhav Bhavan. The youth Congress MLA said that the people had shown confidence in Congress party and in them and elected them. Now it was their turn to live up to the people’s expectations by working with commitment and dedication. She said that it was not easy task to defeat her opponent in the elections but people showed confidence in youth. She added that now the young MLAs look forward to doing public work. On the other hand, Panvel constituency’s MLA Prashant Thakur said that the democratic front had taken the state’s progress to another level. Prashant Thakur is one of the candidates personally picked by Rahul Gandhi as a part of his strategy to field young fresh candidates in ‘tough seats’ and Prashant Thakur won. The young MLA now confesses that the participation of senior Congress leaders like Vilasrao Deshmukh, Narayan Rane and Sushil Kumar Shinde along with Rahul Gandhi himself set the momentum for his victory. Beyond any doubt there are a lot of expectations from young MLAs in the state and looking at the confidence they are exuberating, looks like the young turks might just induce freshness and efficiency atleast in government work and progress in their constituencies. With cameraperson Raju Sharma, Dhiraj Mishra for NMTV News.
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