Belying the stereotype of an apolitical group, first-time voters all over the Capital turned up in droves to vote on Thursday.
In East Delhi constituency, the turnout of first-time voters was especially impressive — less so in the New Delhi and South Delhi constituencies. Most first-timers in the New Delhi area merely accompanied their family members to the booths.
Young voters named terrorism as their most important electoral issue. They said they were fed up with the frequent attacks.
First-time voter Abhinav Sharma (22), a resident of Hauz Khas, said he had shifted his loyalty from the current government as it was ‘spineless’. “It is not just terrorism. In the past few years, we have seen that Congress has been unable to make decisions on its own without the approval of the Left, be it on the nuclear deal issue or industrial and economic reforms,” he said.
Change was also high on 21-year-old JNU student Surbhi Chakravarty’s agenda when she voted for Youth for Equality’s Major Sangeetha Tomar. “I can identify with the party’s disapproval of caste-based reservations,” she said.
Not all were keen on change though. At a polling booth in Patparganj, Jose George (21) said he felt ‘empowered’ and ‘excited’ about voting for the first time. “Being from a minority group, I want a secular and non-sectarian party to come to power,” he said.
For many, though, voting was not about making an informed choice. A number of first-time voters HT spoke to said they had voted for a party or a candidate “for no particular reason,” or because “everyone else was voting for the same”.
For 21-year-old Neha Dogra, a student of Maharaja Agrasen College, political propaganda was the deciding factor.
“I will vote for the party with the most effective advertisements, since I don’t know the candidates that well,” said Dogra.