They are young, restless, and for the first time, holding a loaded gun — the licence to vote.
The number of first-time voters in Delhi has grown nearly four times from last year, and in a time of massive urban youth protests against corruption and gang rape, they may just go out and vote in November’s assembly elections.
Approximately 3.5 lakh voters aged 18 to 19 have entered the voters’ list, up from the existing 98,000 who cast their votes in last year’s municipal elections.
“We had taken several initiatives such as going to university campuses. Our online registration has also been widely used,” said Vijay Dev, chief electoral officer. “We even had a special mobile application through which smartphone users could register their names in electoral rolls while being on the move.”
West Delhi’s Vikaspuri has the highest number of first-time voters — nearly 10,000 — followed by north Delhi’s Bawana with 8,000. The Walled City with 2,400 and New Delhi with 3,500 voters have the fewest.
“Although people in this age group constitute 4% of total voters in the city, they are reluctant to apply for voter cards or enrol themselves by standing in long queues,” said Dev.
“When our booth-level officer pays a visit to get their names in the voter list, they are usually not at home. This is why we decided to visit colleges and schools.”
The chief electoral officer (CEO) has roped in cricketer Virat Kohli to encourage people, especially the youth, to cast their vote.
“I want to have a say in this election, which is why I got my name registered with the election office. We all have an opinion about the government but rarely cast our vote. I want to change that,” said Geetika Agarwal, a student of IP College for women.
About 1.15 crore voters are on the Delhi voting rolls so far. One still has a month or two to get on to the voters’ list.
Here’s how you can do it. Visit www.ceodelhi.nic.in, fill up Form 6 and submit it along with documents online.
To check if your name is already there, type ‘EPIC [space] Voter ID card number’ and text it to 9211728082.