BJP has fielded ex-student leader Nupur Sharma against Kejriwal from New Delhi seat

Nupur Sharma

Away from the din inside the Delhi BJP office, a petite young woman in a churidar, black jacket and sneakers addressed around a hundred party workers. “I live in this city and I am not going anywhere,” she said, a day before she was to file her nomination papers from New Delhi.Nupur Sharma, the BJP’s candidate to take on AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal in the constituency, defies the stereotype politician.A graduate from the London School of Economics and a lawyer by profession, she took a sabbatical from her high-paying job to become a full-time party worker. Amid the kurta clad ticket seekers at the BJP office, Nupur has been quietly working for the party over the past seven years.But, life has changed for her dramatically overnight, and perhaps forever. Ever since the party announced her candidature from the New Delhi seat, her phone has not stopped ringing. “I have been told by the leadership that I have to win,” she told the party workers. As she ended her short speech seeking their “guidance”, they assured her of their support.The party has given Nupur, 30, one of the most challenging tasks of her political career — taking on the former chief minister who is trying to stage a comeback. Incidentally, Kejriwal too is filing his nomination on Wednesday.The BJP leadership was of the view that the party should project fresh, young and untainted faces in the Delhi election. Nupur, though a political lightweight, fits the criterion for the new face of the party. “When Kejriwal fought against Sheila Dikshit, he was a light weight. A lot of so-called big guns are defeated by young contestants. She is no novice,” said BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao.Nupur had started her political career with the party’s youth wing, ABVP, and won the Delhi University elections. Sources said the party also wanted to send a message that it considered New Delhi just one of the 70 seats and the fight against Kejriwal just another contest.”The BJP has its own strategy and it is free to day dream…. We are disappointed why the BJP did not field its chief ministerial candidate (Kiran Bedi) from New Delhi,” said AAP spokesperson Atishi Marlena.But, the decision to put up Nupur has galvanised other young professionals like her working for the party. “She is honest and clean– a wave of fresh air,” said Vinayakk Dalmia, a student of economics who after stints at Cambridge, Berkeley and Warwick, has been devoting some time to work for the BJP.”The party has placed confidence in the exuberance of the youth. If I was Kejriwal I wouldnt be taking this battle too easy,” said Abhishek Tankha, a former businessman, who is also a full-time party worker now.Hundreds of volunteers, all under 35, had joined the BJP in the run-up to the elections and at some point most of them would have an eye on politics.

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