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At 25, India's youngest MLA says give Akhilesh a chance

Lucknow As the newly-elected MLAs from the Samajwadi Party gathered in Lucknow to pick the chief minister, the outcome seemed decided. Akhilesh, the son of party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, seems to be the popular choice. Over the last few days, Mulayam has succeeded in winning over those who worried Akhilesh, at 38, could be too young to run a state as large and complex as Uttar Pradesh.

Among those who disagree is Arun Verma who has won from the Congress stronghold of Sultanpur. Mr Singh knows a thing or two about being considered a rookie. At 25, he is the country's youngest MLA. He credits Akhilesh for making the party field young candidates who, he says, made a vital connect with the youth of the state.

"Akhilesh's talk of tablets and laptops won over the youth," he says, referring to the party manifesto's promise of laptops for all college-going students. "We want him as chief minister. He brought his cycle and wheeled our constituencies into success."

When asked about concerns that some have about Akhilesh's administrative inexperience, he said, "The experience will come. Netaji (Mulayam) will mentor him. After all, Akhilesh ji has been a Lok Sabha MP four times.  He knows what he is doing."

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