There were not many selfies flaunting the inked finger, few group pictures outside polling booths after casting votes and barely any status updates on Facebook. The heightened enthusiasm of young voters seen during the Lok Sabha elections was missing this time round.
“Politicians get elected on the basis of false promises, and the common man’s suffering for basic necessities doesn’t end. I guess that’s why youngsters wonder whether it’s of any use to vote under such conditions,” said Avdhesh Pal, 28, resident of Rajguru Vasahat in the Ghatkopar East constituency. The segment, along with Chembur, Anushakti Nagar and Mankhurd-Shivaji Nagar constituencies, saw a lukewarm response from young voters, as compared to the Lok Sabha polls.
With a five-cornered fight and many candidates to choose from, young voters opted for various ways to select a candidate. “I zeroed down on a candidate after studying a couple of manifestos dropped off at my home by parties,” said Ankita Israney, 20, a Lokhandwala resident and a first-time voter.
For others like Dharmesh Kamble, 30, from Passpoli in the Andheri East constituency, the confusion was between Shiv Sena and the MNS. “Both cater to Marathi voters, but the MNS corporator from our area has done good work, and so I voted for him,” said Kamble.
But for first-time voter Aditya Maharaja, 18, BJP’s Vinod Tawde from the Borivli constituency was a natural choice. “It is the Modi effect, and the need for change,” he said.
The Modi effect was evident among other youngsters too, who said they voted for the BJP, without even knowing the candidate. “I saw BJP candidate Sunil Yadav’s name only when I reached the voting booth. But I like how the BJP has performed under Narendra Modi, and I did not really care who their candidate was,” said Ajay Maurya, 23, who is employed with a business process outsourcing firm.
With 25,000 first-time voters in the suburbs, Malvika Adulika, 21, a Juhu resident, said, “I came out to exercise my right as a citizen. Those who have not voted have lost their right to complain about the state of the locality or city.”