Having dreams of a better future in their eyes, first-time voters in Jammu region turned out in large number on Saturday to elect their representatives with hope that they would help them live their dreams.
Emerging out of a polling booth in Gandhi Nagar, Akanksha Sharma (18), a first time voter, says successive governments have failed to live up to the expectations of the youth and a fresh approach is needed to harness the talent of the youth, who are the future of any society.
"We are voting for a change and the time has arrived for our MLAs and MPs to change as well. Fresh outlook towards the youth, new career avenues and modern educational institutions offering career-oriented courses should be established for our better future," said Akanksha, adding the rising crime against women should be contained and the government should ensure women's safety.
Expressing her displeasure over the functioning of previous representatives, she said, "I am not happy with our MLAs, as our area has become a jungle full of concretes. There has been blatant violation of the land law and heaps of garbage lying in open in our area. We want cleanliness and better hygiene. Also, in Jammu, there should be more sources for recreation."
Abelash Gupta (21), another first time voter and a student of political science, said our politicians should also change with the changing time.
He feels that the new government in the state should tech-savvy.
"Politicians should capable of adapting themselves according to time, especially in the interest of the youth. Also, educated and honest people should join politics to transform its image. We want people with clean image to run the government," he said.
"Our area (Marh assembly segment) has seen lopsided development, done solely on political considerations. Many development works have been stalled in our area. This practice should be stopped, as everything should not be seen through the prism of vote bank," Abelash added.
Surbhi Mahajan (19), an undergraduate, said: "There should be a level playing field for everyone. Only influential and resourceful people are benefitted by the government. I am totally against the 'quota system', as despite having good marks we do not get admission in professional courses."
"In elections, candidates matter not the party. A candidate should be representative of public in true sense," she said.
Vasu Gaupta (20) an engineering student at Chandigarh College of Engineering voted for a better future and job avenues in Jammu.
"The youth have very little future in Jammu and successive governments have done little to improve our future over years. I went to Chandigarh for a better future. I may not return Jammu as there are no job avenues for me. In addition, it's almost impossible to get educational or business loans. The new government should look into these aspects, which will go a long way in engaging the youth," she said.
"Jammu has become congested over years. The population has increased manifold, while little effort was made to decongest Jammu. There should be an alternative transport system such as metro rail. In addition, little was done to remove encroachments in the city, even the pavements are occupied," said Vasu, a first time voter.