The average age of the newly elected members of the Delhi Assembly (MLAs) is nearly five years more than that of the previous Assembly members. This should not come as a surprise, as three of the five youngest members of 2015 are still among the five youngest, albeit with an addition of five years to their age. The age of the youngest MLA this time is nearly five years more than the youngest of 2015, and so is that of the oldest.
In almost a repeat of its stupendous performance five years earlier, the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which had swept the 2015 election by bagging 67 of the 70 seats in Delhi, managed to retain 62 in 2020. It also maintained its vote share to roughly the same level, even as the principal Opposition, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), increased its share by about 5 percentage points. The BJP bagged the five seats lost by the AAP to increase its tally from just three in 2015 to eight now.
Talking of the age of winners, the number of ‘young’ MLAs (in the age bracket to 25 to 50 years) has fallen to 39 from 49 in 2015. The youngest MLA this time, Kuldeep Kumar from the Kondli Assembly constituency, is aged 30. In the previous Assembly, the youngest were Prakash Jarwal from Deoli and Rituraj Govind from Kirari, both aged 26 in 2015. Now, there are 31 legislators who are aged 51 years or more, compared with 20 last time.
It should, however, be noted that 45 of the 70 sitting MLAs have been re-elected in 2020. Their age now is five years more than in 2015.
Interestingly, the average age of AAP legislators (47.7 years) is nearly 10 years less than that BJP legislators (57.4 years), even as the two oldest — Ram Niwas Goel (72) and Parlad Singh Sawhney (69) — are both from the AAP, shows an analysis by Business Standard. That is because going by the lowest age, top 32 are all from the AAP. The youngest of the eight BJP legislators is Abhay Verma (47).
Let's take a look at the five youngest MLAs in the new Delhi Assembly:
1. Kuldeep Kumar, 30 years
Kuldeep Kumar. Photo: AAP websiteSeat: Kondli
Defeated: Raj Kumar (BJP)
Victory margin: 17,907 votes
Kuldeep Kumar won from Kondli (SC) Assembly seat, which falls in the East Delhi parliamentary constituency, represented in Parliament by the BJP’s Gautam Gambhir. Kumar bagged 68,348 votes and defeated the BJP’s Raj Kumar 17,907. The difference between the vote shares of the two was 13.92 percentage point. This seat was previously held by Manoj Kumar, also of the AAP.
2. Raghav Chadha, 31 years
Raghav Chaddha. Photo: PTI
Seat: Rajinder Nagar
Defeated: Sardar R P Singh (BJP)
Victory margin: 20,058 votes
Raghav Chadha, a 31-year-old chartered accountant, is one of the youngest MLAs in the Delhi Assembly now. An AAP spokesperson for many years and one of the party's most affable faces, Chadha won the Rajinder Nagar seat by defeating Sardar R P Singh of the BJP by 20,058 votes. The difference between their votes shares was 19.35 percentage points. This seat was previously held by Vijender Garg Vijay, also of the AAP.
Rajinder Nagar, part of the New Delhi Lok Sabha constituency, currently represented by Meenakshi Lekhi of the BJP. Chadha is a Delhi University (DU) alumnus who specialises in international tax and transfer pricing. Previously an advisor to the AAP government, he was forced to step down as the Centre deemed his appointment illegal. Raghav Chadha had also contested the 2014 Lok Sabha election from South Delhi but lost to the BJP’s Ramesh Bidhuri.
3. Prakash Jarwal, 31 years
Prakash Jarwal with Arvind Kejriwal (Photo: @PrakashJarwal)
Defeated: Arvind Kumar (BJP)
Victory margin: 40,173 votes
Prakash Jarwal left his job of assistant manager at a multinational company to join the Anna Hazare-led anti-corruption movement, and later the AAP. His brief stint in politics has been mired in controversy. In July 2017, Jarwal was booked for molesting and harassing a woman who was allegedly a member of the Rashtravadi Janata Party. The following year, on February 20, he was arrested for assaulting Delhi chief secretary Anshu Prakash at the residence of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. He was granted bail on March 9.
In 2020, Jarwal won the Deoli seat, part of the South Delhi parliamentary constituency — represented in the Lok Sabha by the BJP’s Ramesh Bidhuri — for a third straight time. He defeated his nearest rival Arvind Kumar of the BJP by a margin of 40,173 votes; the difference between their vote shares was 26.73 percentage points.
4. Rituraj Govind, 31 years
Rituraj Govind (Photo: @AapRituraj)
Defeated: Anil Jha (BJP)
Victory margin: 5,654 votes
In the 2020 Delhi Assembly election, Rituraj Govind won the Kirari seat, which is part of the North West Delhi Lok Sabha constituency, represented by BJP Delhi chief Manoj Tiwari. Govind defeated the BJP's Anil Jha by a narrow margin of 5,654 votes. The gap between the vote shares of the two was 3.26 percentage points. Anil Jha, who had won from here in the 2013 Delhi election, lost to Govind in both 2015 and 2020.
Govind, who comes from a village in Bihar’s Samastipur, has studied Hotel Management from The Monarch International College of Hotel Management. He has two criminal cases pending against him.
5. Rakhi Birla, 32 years
Rakhi Birla (Photo: https://aamaadmiparty.org)
Seat: Mangol Puri
Defeated: Karam Singh Karma (BJP)
Victory margin: 30,116 votes
Rakhi Birla, who was first elected to the Delhi Assembly as a 25-year-old, won the Mangol Puri seat for a third straight time in 2020 by beating the BJP's Karam Singh Karma by 30,116 votes. The different between the vote shares of the two was 34.76 percentage points. Mangol Puri is part of the North West Delhi parliamentary seat, currently represented by the BJP’s Manoj Tiwari.
A mass communication student and former journalist, Rakhi Birla came in contact with Arvind Kejriwal during the Anna Hazare-led Jan Lokpal movement of 2011. She also contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, but lost to the BJP's Udit Raj in North West Delhi.
After the 2013 elections, she had become the youngest minister in the first Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government that lasted only 49 days. Later, after the 2015 Assembly polls, the two-time MLA from Mangol Puri went on to become one of the youngest deputy speakers.