It seems that the Congress wants those who are young at heart, no matter what their age. After receiving a rather lukewarm response from the youth applicants, even after Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh promised allotting 35 out of the 117 assembly tickets to young candidates, the party was forced to push the age limit of youths to 45 years!
It’s only after such extreme measures the party has been able to keep up its promise of 35 seats to the youth with around about the same percentage (33%) of young applicants. The age limit to qualify for a berth in the Punjab Youth Congress is 35 years and the number of applicants for it are “between 100 and 110” as admitted by both the Punjab Youth Congress and Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC).
Defending the current circumstance, Amarinder said that the Constitution fixed the minimum age at 25 to contest elections, but never the maximum age. Therefore, it’s not surprising that the average age of Congress applicants have been above 50 in prior elections. “Anyone up to 45 years is also a youngster,” he said. Interestingly enough, Captain Amarinder went on to say that nearly 67% of the state voters were youngsters “below 40 years”.
Denied having worked out a figure of the youth applicants till Monday evening, the PPCC managed to cobble up the numbers before Amarinder’s press conference on Tuesday.
This is not the first time that Amarinder has ‘flip-flopped’ on an issue. Just a few weeks ago, he claimed that the practice of taking Rs 10,000 from applicants belonging to General Category and Rs 5,000 from applicants belonging to reserved ones had been eliminated.
However, within a week the PPCC did a U-Turn and said that the deposits made would be refunded instead, which seems improbable seeing that the receipt slip has no mention whatsoever of the money paid by applicants. The fact that there is no serial numbers on the receipt has also brought about questions and concerns regarding fair play. Besides this, in the recent past itself, Amarinder has given contradicting statements “some sitting MLAs will be dropped” and “no MLA will be dropped”.