Want change, will vote, says young Delhi

November 11th, 2008 - 2:43 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 11 (IANS) Delhi’s youngsters are eagerly awaiting the battle of the ballot in the Indian capital. Their vote, they say, is a weapon they want to use to better their quality of life.Across the city, young men and women say they will practice their right to vote in the coming assembly elections.

Richa Misra, a PhD scholar in Delhi University, steers away from the rhetoric of ‘my vote does not matter’.

“Of course it matters. It’s no point simply complaining about the system if we don’t exercise our right to choose our leaders. I think youngsters should vote because only then can we see development taking place,” said the 25-year-old resident of Mayur Vihar in east Delhi.

According to her, better education facilities and employment opportunities were important. “Frankly, I don’t care which party comes to power as long as these are taken care of.”

Delhi will see balloting Nov 29, with a resurgent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) determined to oust the 10-year Congress government of Sheila Dikshit.

Of Delhi’s 10.7 million voters, nearly four million are in the age group of 18 to 29. “We expect these people to come out and vote,” said Election Commission official Uday Baxi.

Anjan Katna, a resident of Rohini area who works in neighbouring Gurgaon, also vowed to cast his vote.

“It’s my right to vote and I will. There are a number of issues I would want my candidate to work on, first of them being better roads. The roads are in a dilapidated condition. Social security is another key issue. Ensuring better water supply is important too. As of now we get water just once a day,” Katna, 25, told IANS.

For Abha Duggal, 26, a communications officer with a NGO, education is the issue closest to her heart.

“I want my candidate to improve the quality of government schools. In our area most children don’t go to school, a worrying trend no one seems to be bothered about,” she said.

For some like Mukesh Gupta, who works in an NGO, Bachpan Bachao Andolan, it’s not so much a will to vote that plagues the youth but the lack of choice one faces while voting for a candidate.

“Most youngsters want change and they believe that voting could be a way for that but the difficulty is in selecting a candidate to vote for. All the politicians, no matter which party, seem to be the same,” Gupta said.

He, however, added that ‘report cards’ of the MLAs published by newspapers, giving a snapshot of their record, is of great help.

“I will cast my vote not on the basis of the ideology of a party but on the basis of a candidate’s credentials.”

Jayshree Karar, a PhD scholar of Delhi University who lives in Paschim Vihar, however, said her vote will be more on the basis of a political party than a candidate.

Misra, who shared Karar’s views, said: “I will vote on the basis of a political party’s stand on certain issues. For me, economy, education and social issues are important.”

And while a handful like 24-year-old Shyama Das said that they will not vote because they don’t think their vote will bring about a change, others like 27-year-old Jattin Kapoor, now in Bangkok, said he will not let go of this opportunity — if he is in Delhi during the elections.

But political analyst G.V.L. Narasimha Rao is not sure if political parties are appealing to the youth.

“Look at Barak Obama’s campaign. He galvanised the young by connecting with them. I don’t see any party here doing that. Despite all the frills, they fail to catch the youth’s imagination. The young are concerned about education and employment. The agenda of the parties should enthuse and motivate the youth.”

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