For Abhinav Manjal, a first-time voter from East Punjabi Bagh, casting his vote in Sunday’s MCD elections was a ‘critical decision’. He did a thorough research on the social media before coming out to vote on Sunday.
“For civic issues we need strong local leaders who are accessible and can get work done immediately. So I watched YouTube interviews of all candidates of my constituency before deciding whom to vote for,” said Manjal.
There were about 1.10 lakh first-time voters in the high-stakes municipal polls in Delhi. Those who came out to vote in the low turnout elections showed great enthusiasm about voting. The first-timers voted for a host of reasons from getting the experience of casting a vote to finding a solution to the problems in their area.
Nineteen-year-old Pushkar Singh, a student at Ramjas College, who voted for the first time in municipal polls, said he expects the winning party to provide better parking facility in the university area along with ramps on roads for visually challenged students.
“Everyone parks on the road due to which there is hardly any space to drive or walk. This needs to be solved,” he said.” Similarly, Shreya Luthra, who lives in teacher’s colony in Timarpur, voted because the garbage dump in the area needs to be cleaned regularly.
There were also those whose expectations from MCD seemed to be misplaced. Isha Goyal, a student of Delhi University’s Hindu College, for example, voted because she wanted her electricity bill to come down. “Continuous and cheap supply of electricity is an important issue for me in this election,” she said, not knowing that electricity is under the jurisdiction of Delhi government, not the municipal corporations.
Rudransh, an engineering student, said he wants change in the municipal bodies but wasn’t aware who is in power in the three civic bodies. “This is the first MCD election I am voting in,” he said.
Many like Jatin Kumar, who just appeared for his Class 12 board examination, voted just to have an experience of voting. “It is a right given to us by the Constitution; it is important to exercise it,” said Kumar, a resident of Deoli village in south Delhi.
There were many first-time voters who came out to vote not for any party or issue but simply because their relatives were in the fray and they wanted them to win.
“My maternal uncle is contesting the elections and I voted for him,” said Harsh a first-time voter in Rajouri Garden. Badal Kalsi, 18, was excited to cast his first vote at a Defence Colony booth, for a similar reason.
“I come from a political family. My grandfather is the sitting councillor of Kasturba Nagar. This time my mother is contesting,” he said.
(With from Shenal Tripathi and Anonna Dutt)