By G B Vanamali Arakkonam, Tamil Nadu, Apr 22 UNI | 3 months ago

If one goes by his own admission, 33-year-old R Rajesh of Congress, who is contesting from the Arakkonam Lok Sabha constitency, is the youngest candidate in the fray.

"In fact I am the youngest Congress candidate in the fray in India", he claims, as UNI caught up with him at the BHEL facility at Ranipet, where he was canvassing votes.

Sounding confident of his victory in a multi-cornered contest, Rajesh said various industrial training programmes to develop the skills of the youth and job fairs organised by him over the years through the 'Naesey NGO Trust', founded by his father, had earned a good name for him.

"We have created more than 25,000 jobs for the youth through job fairs", Rajesh, who is now the Vice-President of the Trust, said.

Stating about 15 lakh people have directly benefitted through the training programmes and the job fairs, he said the response from the youth was very encouraging. "It's beyond my expectations", Rajesh adds.

"The presence of 1.5 lakh first time voters, who have also benefitted from the career guidance programmes and with whom I have been in touch on a daily basis, gives me the edge," he said.

"Another factor that will work in my favour is that I am a local. I am the son of the soil, while other candidates are outsiders", he says.

Noting that power cut, drinking water and the pollution issue due to presence of a lot of leather tanneries were the main poll issues, Rajesh, who is also the Manifesto Committee member of the AICC, said the general trend, people say that Congress would not win.

"But Arakkonam will be the surprise package", he said.

(Posted on 22-04-2014)