With just five days left to go for D-Day, members of GenNext in the Capital are exuding a lot of excitement, accompanied by some trepidation, confusion and ignorance too, as they prepare their first rendezvous with the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) on November 29. On that day, they would cast their votes and obtain the tell-tale indigo mark on the index fingers by helping elect a new Assembly.
Apart from the novelty of the exercise, how many youngsters who have qualified to vote for the very first time in their lives actually realise the power they hold to influence the future of an estimated 15 million fellow-Delhiites for the better, or for worse? Even among those who do so, how do they assess the candidates contesting from their area as good or bad, dependable, ignorable, or worth being elected again? And faced with a bewildering plethora of choices, would they actually go out and vote, or rather stay at home and let things remain they way they are at present?
HT Next met up with a cross-section of potential first-time voters to find out their take on the forthcoming election, on whether they would, or would not, exercise their franchise, and if they know the candidates in the fray from their areas. Here’s a look at what the exercise revealed.
Name: Vandana Sharma (Second-year student at Maharishi Markandeshwar University, Haryana)
Area: Vasant Kunj
Voting status and reason: Will vote because, “being an Indian, I feel it is my duty and my right to have a say in the formation of government. Voting allows me to do that.”
Knowledge about the candidates in the constituency where he lives: Nil
Name: Aditya Chopra (first-year student at YMCA)
Area: Rajinder Nagar
Voting decision and reason: Will vote. “I am excited about exercising my right, though I admit I do not know the candidates contesting from my area. I don’t even know their names. I haven’t decided which party I will go for but I certainly intend to cast my vote.”
(Note: The voting in the area where Chopra stays has been cancelled following the demise of the BJP MLA Puran Chand Yogi who was again among the candidates in the fray this time. Since he doesn’t know the names of the contestants, the student may also be unaware about this bit of information)
Name: Tushar Sabharwal (first-year student at the Institute of Technology and Management, Gurgaon)
Area: New Friends Colony
Voting decision and reason: “My voter-id card isn’t ready even now. If I still get to vote on the basis of the receipt of my ID-card, I certainly will.”
Knowledge about candidates in the constituency where he lives: “Although, I am not familiar with the candidates, I think I have a fair idea of which party I’d like to vote. I have seen and compared the present with past scenarios; the situation that used to be and that is. My vote will primarily be governed by it. Before voting, I would be consulting my parents and at the same time, looking deeply into my own point of view. Then, I will exercise my right.”