Aditi Singh and her friends look confused when asked about the coming Delhi assembly elections.
“Are you talking about the Delhi University Students’ Union election?” asks Singh, referring to the polls that happened a fortnight ago.
Quick to dismiss Singh, her friend, Malvika Aggarwal, says, “No, she means the Modi wala election.”
For a majority of students in Delhi, the Assembly elections scheduled for December 4 in Delhi may as well not be happening.
It is a suspicion confirmed by a recent survey carried out by the Delhi government. According to the survey, the registration and voter turnout of young voters is lower than other categories.
Padmavati Venkatesh, a Botany student at Hindu College, knows that elections are going to happen soon but has no idea about the candidates and the issues they have raised.
Priyanka Shekhawat and Tushar Kaul, both from Ramjas College, say they are not interested in politics but plan to vote.
In fact, voter turnout in the DUSU elections in the past five years had been promising.
Various student groups and NGOs are trying to raise awareness about the assembly elections. Last week, hoardings and posters were put up on North Campus, asking students to apply for their voter’s ID card and to vote.
The state election commission is also planning programmes to make sure the youth comes out to vote. Most campaigns, however, are targeted at the well-known colleges.
“No student party has ever tried to hold awareness campaigns in IP University colleges. There aren’t even any posters like the ones at Delhi University,” said Prateek Kumar, an engineering student at IP University.
The students who are politically aware, however, are looking for change. “The current government lacks responsibility and accountability. A sense of complacency has set in and there is a lot of corruption in the system. I will vote for change this time,” said Kamal, a MA history student at DU.
According to political sociologists, the turnout will be higher this time around. “In a system that is running well, the voter turnout is usually lower as people are comfortable. The 2008 elections were different. The economy was strong and there were no big scandals in the air.
"The youth looks for change and this time the turnout could be higher than the last time,” said political sociologist, Dipankar Gupta."If political awareness is gauged by the information of the contest between BJP and Congress, then perhaps it is low but students’ interest in politics is high," said social anthropologist Shiv Visvanathan.