Enthusiastic they certainly were, but not without a sense of purpose and responsibility. As Himachal Pradesh went to polls on Sunday, first-time voters in the hill state’s capital Shimla said they wanted to cast their ballot to improve their lot. Many defined balloting as a means to ensure protection of their rights.
No one committed to names, but each one of the first-time voters – 1.09 lakh of the total 46.08 lakh – said that he or she had sided with the party that was “youth-oriented” and “ensures development”.
Rise in unemployed among the educated youth means that these voters will play a critical role in deciding who would govern the state. No wonder, then, that the parties have made tall promises in their election manifestoes aimed at the young and restless.
Expectations are high, as the first-timers believe they now have the power to bring about change, especially by improving education and job prospects.
WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY
Our leader should be one who takes up issues of the youth and ensures that promises made in the manifesto are fulfilled in the right earnest
Abhilasha Nadda, 18, Bothwell Estate
My first-ever vote and also in the years to come will work be for those who ensure that girls do not have to venture out of the state for jobs.
Saroj Sharma, 21, Kachighati
Due to inflation, the cost of education has gone up considerably. Private universities are only adding to the woes of the youth.
Deepa Kumari, 23, Khallini
Instead of promoting private universities, there is need to give a fillip to the industry, where Himachalis must get 70% job quota in letter and spirit.
Shubh Vijay Bhushan, 24, US Club, Shimla
My vote is for an honest and progressive candidate, who will be able to and improve lives of not only the youth but the entire society
Piyush Thakur, 21, Tara Devi
I want a concrete policy to tackle unemployment, and also improvement in education in the government sector rather than opening private varsities
Sunny Tanwar, 22, Shogi
My vote is for the party that will for the betterment of the youth, as unemployment is one of the major issues in the elections this time.