Haryana's Muslim-majority assembly constituency Punhana in Mewat district is set to witness a tough battle. The Congress party has fielded Mohammad Iliyas, who has registered victory in 2009 elections on BSP ticket, while, BJP has fielded 27-year-old Nauksham Chaudhary, who has returned to India after studying in Milan and London.
A 2018 NITI Aayog report mentions Mewat as India's most backward district. Rahish Khan (independent) is the sitting MLA from Punhana. He registered a victory in 2014 and supported BJP after getting elected.
It would be interesting to see if BJP's Nauksham Chaudhary, the youngest contestant of Haryana assembly election, gives competition to veteran leaders, who are looking forward to claim the seat.
27-year-old Nauksham's father is a judge and her mother is a senior official in the Revenue Department of the Haryana government.
She was involved in student politics during her graduation years at Delhi University. She studied History from prestigious Miranda House college. Later, she flew to Italy to pursue a Master's Degree in Luxury Brand Management. She has also studied Media and Communications from London. Right before venturing into politics, Nauksham was offered a package of Rs 1 crore in London. However, she opted for public life and refused the offer.
BJP had a poor track record in Mewat District as it never won a single seat there. Muslim community makes up 80 per cent of the population in Mewat.
Nauksham Chaudhary has quite a task before her as she looks to win the elections.
The newbie revealed that initially, her mother was not happy with her decision to forgo a job opportunity and join politics. But eventually, she supported Nauksham's decision.
Nauksham said that she joined BJP as she was inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's work.
Meanwhile, Rahish Khan, Independent MLA from Punhana constituency who was earlier expecting backing from the BJP, has now decided to contest the election as an independent candidate once again.