Forty-five million young people in India have become eligible to vote for the forthcoming general elections. According to 2018 data from the Election Commission, youngsters who turned 18 have been added to India’s electoral roll since 2014. These new voters will play a crucial role in the general elections, starting next month.
Today’s youth is far more aware of what’s happening around the globe, in the country, and even in their neighbourhood. With the growing power of the internet, there is increasing curiosity and willingness to bring about a change in society. Many youngsters have been running campaigns to bring awareness about burning issues, teenagers have been raising funds to help the underprivileged and so on. Having the largest youth population in the world, India’s future, to a large extent, will be shaped by the youngsters.
Ahead of the General Elections, we speak to first-time voters who tell us about the importance of casting their vote and what changes they would like to see in the coming years.
YOUTH IS AWARE
Although there are a few things in the country that require serious attention, I am happy with the current political scenario. I feel that it is also the responsibility of the citizens to take steps and make necessary changes to improve the situation further. As a youngster, I think, right now, the youth has a lot of facilities like education loans, startup loans and so on, which is good. That said, many think that if a young politician is elected, s/he will bring in a lot of changes, but if a young leader is elected, it does not necessarily mean that s/he will work for the youth. That person will have to work for issues that demand the most attention. The majority of youth today, as I would like to believe, is well informed and impartial to different religious or political agendas. Hence, a vote from every single one of them to the right person will decide the country’s fate.
—Angela Jacob, 21, BBA student, final year, Pune
WE NEED A YOUNG, EDUCATED LEADER
This is going to be the first time that I am going to cast my vote and I urge every youngster to exercise their franchise and help change the system through the power of voting. Frankly, I’m so done with the present government for its regressive thought process, rigid policies and intolerance towards the minorities. Who bans notes out of the blue without consulting the RBI? When a government starts to dictate what you eat, whom you worship and what you watch — it is time for a change. Hence we need to get more and more educated, young and liberal people to take part in politics to see positive and progressive changes, more opportunities, jobs and peace. I know it is easier said than done, but as youngsters we must not miss this opportunity to choose our own representative — a representative who knows what the youth wants and needs. I would also like to say that democracy has the power to demolish any authoritative power, and now is the time to do that. Let’s do it!
— Illiaz Ahmed, 19, Political Science student, Kolkata
NO MORE WARS PLEASE
I was very supportive of the government in the beginning but later, I felt that it just sold ‘dreams’ in the name of youth empowerment. Look at the scenario today — the number of unemployed youth is increasing day by day and the rate of crime is also increasing rapidly in the country. I am not saying we have to blame the government alone, but yes, it is influencing people in the wrong way. As youngsters, who are the future of the country, we have to take this election seriously and make choices that will better shape the future. It is important to not fall for election propaganda or vote in the name of religion, but cast our vote for what we need and deserve.
— Vivek Kumar, 20, Polytechnic student, Patna
GO WITH THE FLOW
I’m glad I am getting a chance to vote this time and I want the current government to stay in power. With the help of technology, it has brought about so much change. There are several new-age careers for today’s youngsters. I am so glad that I will be able to play a tiny role in the process of change. We do not want a leader from a party which has been harbouring corruption. I don’t think there is any other potential leader with such great vision, magnetism and charisma to put India on the global map, and we want to become the No 1 country in the world. We, as youngsters, want to see more advancement in technology, science and arts, and that can only happen if the country is moving in the same pace as now.
— Disha Dhawan, 21, IT student, NEW Delhi