India’s young voters bring fresh perspectives in 2024 LS elections

As the Lok Sabha Elections 2024 unfold, a wave of first-time voters is making its mark. These young individuals, ranging from 18 to 20 years old, are stepping into their civic duties with enthusiasm and a sense of responsibility. Their stories, filled with personal reflections and unique experiences, paint a vivid picture of this significant milestone.

In Mumbai, Sanjana, aged 20, felt a powerful sense of duty as she joined her peers in voting. “Most of my peers voted. They were determined to choose their future government,” she shared. Sanjana’s decision was based on the previous activities of the candidates and coalitions, and she took pride in making an independent choice. “There was no involvement of friends or parents in my decision-making process,” she emphasised.

Impact of first-time voters

The youth voting for the first time have shown prominent interest in politics and believe that without their involvement in voting, they do not have a say in the governance of the country and cannot be held accountable. Aarushi, 19 years old, from Nashik, was thrilled to vote for the first time. “The thrill to be able to vote for the first time and have a say on the governance of the country was quite amazing, but it didn’t last long; it was a short process,” she recounted. Aarushi chose a candidate aligned with her ideals but wished for more options closer to her ideology. “I do wish that there were more options, someone who was closer to my ideology,” she said. Aarushi hopes the elected government will prioritize public welfare over personal gain.

Youth participation 

The Election Commission of India (ECI) reported that only 40 per cent of eligible 18-19-year-olds have registered to vote in the 2024 elections nationwide. There are 18.5 million voters aged 18-19 who will be casting their ballots for the first time. A lot of the people were not able to receive their voter ID cards in time to cast their votes.

Muskaan, 19, from Bengaluru, found the voting process surprisingly efficient, but unfortunately, many of her friends couldn’t vote due to the lack of voter IDs..“The process was smooth and fast; I didn’t know what to expect,” she noted. She based her vote on the candidates’ recent public appearances and governance records. “I know it is solely supposed to be my choice, so I go with what they do, not what people surrounding me tell me to do,” she explained.

In Salem, Neeraj, 19, had a meticulously planned voting experience. “My voting experience was quite nice; I voted at 7 am with a waiting period of 5-10 minutes in my constituency,” he shared. Neeraj had researched the candidates and their manifestos thoroughly. “I had sketched out thoughts before entering the polling booth,” he said. He noted that logistical issues prevented some of his college friends from voting, but he remained hopeful. “I hope the government elected can address the plethora of issues left behind by the current government and also their errors.”

Further down in the South in Chennai, Lakshcita, 21, could not receive her Voter ID card despite registering a lot earlier than the election dates. Due to this, she couldn’t able to exercise her right to vote and was disappointed as she had the mindset on whom she’d be voting for, and her reasons were justified by her. “I was looking forward to casting my vote for the very first time, but I wasn’t able to, and I blame the ECI and Government for the delay in receiving my voter ID card,” she said.

In Dakshin Kolkata, under Phase 6 of the ongoing elections, Ronit Ghosh, aged 20, awaits a deep sense of empowerment. “I feel like I have taken a stand and followed through with my right to choose my candidate in the Indian Legislature,” he stated. Many of his friends faced challenges voting for geographical and logistical reasons, but Ronit was fortunate that his voting date coincided with his summer vacation. “For me, I was lucky my election dates were after the start of my summer vacation, so it was not much of an issue for me,” he explained. Ronit believes in the importance of voting as a civic duty. “We should exercise our rights given to us, not just for us – but for every single citizen of the country,” he concluded.

Civic duty and responsibility

These first-time voters, despite facing various challenges, are united by their commitment to making informed and independent choices. They embody a generation that understands the power of their vote and the importance of participating in the democratic process. As they cast their ballots, they do so with hopes for a better, more accountable government that will steer the country towards a brighter future.

(The writer is interning with businessline)



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