These young MPs from Hindi heartland script the story of Gen Z in Lok Sabha

Shambhavi Choudhary, Priya Saroj, Sanjana Jatav and Pushpendra Saroj. Photos: Instagram.

By the age of 25, they have studied accounting, practised law, pursued PhD in relevant topics and also contested General Elections and won. It’s more than a career turn for a band of Gen Z MPs who have braved the heat of the election campaign during a draining summer and shoved aside infantilizing remarks to make their way to the Lok Sabha. The moment is surreal for these youngsters.

Shambhavi Choudhary, Samastipur
“During my college years, I had made a casual visit to Parliament. Now, I'm officially entering the house as an elected representative, and the moment feels surreal and overwhelming. When I went to my constituency, I was an ordinary citizen; when I left, I came out as a Member of Parliament,’’ Shambhavi Choudhary, a 25-year-old MP from Bihar told Onmanorama.

She is a third-generation politician who contested in the Samastipur constituency on a Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) ticket. Shambhavi is currently pursuing her PhD from Magadh University on the 'Role of Women in Electoral Politics in Bihar.'

She grew up surrounded by politics. Her grandfather, Mahavir Choudhary, was a long-time Congress member, and her father, Ashok Choudhary, is a minister in the government led by Nitish Kumar. Although she contested from Samastipur, Shambhavi is not a resident of the region. Addressing concerns about being an outsider, she noted that her opponent, a local resident, attempted to frame her as disconnected from the area.

“Your residence is not a priority for the voters; they want a strong face and somebody they can believe in to voice their issues. Voters questioned my age, saying I'm so young and might be unable to deliver. But I overcame all these challenges,” she said.
Shambhavi is the first female parliamentarian from the Samastipur constituency. She aims to represent the youth, women, and the marginalised sections. Her priorities include improving connectivity and attracting more investment to the state. When not attending parliamentary sessions, she plans to visit her constituency regularly and remain accessible to her electors.

Priya Saroj, Machhlishahar
Priya Saroj, another 25-year-old MP from the Machhlishahar constituency in Uttar Pradesh has glowing memories of her visit to the Parliament building at a young age.
“Since childhood, I've visited Parliament many times with my father, but this is my first time entering as an elected member. I feel proud to be there,” says Priya who contested under the Samajwadi Party ticket. Before contesting for the 18th Lok Sabha elections, she practised at the Supreme Court. She campaigned in her constituency with the slogan "Pichhde, Dalit & Alpasankhyak" (Backward Classes, Dalit, and Minorities). Priya hails from a political family; her father, Toofani Saroj, is a three-time MP and the current MLA of the Kerakat assembly constituency. Even before entering politics, Priya said she was well-acquainted with the constituency and its people, having worked on her father's election campaign in 2022.

Priya aims to empower women by raising awareness about law and order and promoting independence. Her priorities include securing Minimum Support Prices (MSP) for farmers, increasing employment, advocating for reservations, and reducing price hikes. To effectively connect with her constituents, she communicates in Bhojpuri and Hindi.

Parliament. File Photo.

Sanjana Jatav, Bharatpur
For some of the young turks, the foray into the parliament has been eventful in every step. From a narrow defeat in assembly polls to a thumping Lok Sabha victory, 26-year-old Sanjana Jatav, mother of two and the new MP of Bharatpur in Rajasthan has never had it easy.
Sanjana defeated former BJP MP Ramswarop Koli by an impressive margin of 51,983 votes in Rajasthan's Bharatpur, home town of chief minister Bhajan Lal Sharma. The Congress hadn't held this seat since 2009, making Sanjana's win, particularly as a Dalit representative, a remarkable feat that resonates on the national political stage.

Being hailed as a rising star within the Rajasthan Congress, Sanjana is known for her active involvement in campaigning against various pressing issues, including inflation, unemployment, water scarcity and farmer concerns.

Pushpendra Saroj
At just 25 years and three months, Pushpendra Saroj's journey to the 18th Lok Sabha from Uttar Pradesh's Kaushambi constituency is a story of sweet revenge. It all began in 2019 when the Samajwadi Party nominated his father, Indrajeet Saroj, a five-time MLA and party's current national general secretary, against the BJP's sitting MP, Vinod Sonkar. Despite a valiant effort, Indrajeet then lost by a vote margin of 2.88 per cent.

Fast forward five years, and Pushpendra, a graduate in Accounting and Management from London's Queen Mary University, stepped into the political arena to carry forward his father's legacy. His victory over Vinod, by over 1 lakh votes, marked a significant turning point. He turned 25 on March 1, making his entry into politics at a remarkably young age.

Reflecting on his journey, Pushpendra emphasises that politics has always been ingrained in his life. "But I never imagined stepping into it so early. However, thinking about the past decade, to where the country headed, I felt a pressing need for fresh faces in the Parliament," he told Onmanorama.
The 18th Lok Sabha elections served as a watershed moment for Pushpendra, where he observed a surge in youth participation. "With contestants as young as 25, there is a palpable eagerness among the younger generation to contribute actively to politics. It's crucial to ensure that these voices are not only heard but also effectively represented in Parliament, encouraging more youth to join the sphere," he added.

As he prepares to embark on his debut parliamentary tenure, Pushpendra is determined to actively engage in debates and learn from his peers. "Be strong, observe and learn from others. Each member of the house is representing the country itself. While collaborating with the government is important, our primary allegiance must always be to the people and in prioritising their welfare," Pushpendra noted.

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