Missing: Youth play truant on V-Day | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Missing: Youth play truant on V-Day

They ‘like’ Anna Hazare’s campaign on Facebook, flaunt Anna caps, flay corrupt politicians and start online tirades against the government’s plans to censor social networking sites. But when it comes to voting, the city’s youth look the other way.

mumbai Updated: Feb 17, 2012 01:27 IST
HT Correspondent

They ‘like’ Anna Hazare’s campaign on Facebook, flaunt Anna caps, flay corrupt politicians and start online tirades against the government’s plans to censor social networking sites. But when it comes to voting, the city’s youth look the other way.

Although 19 lakh new voters were added to the voting list for the civic elections in the city, most of them youngsters, few young faces were seen outside the polling booths on Thursday.

In posh areas of Colaba, Cuffe Parade and Peddar Road, very few youngsters were seen casting their vote. The situation was the same in the suburbs, where most voters were middle-aged and senior citizens. The northeastern suburbs of Ghatkopar, Mulund, and Bhandup had a similar story to tell.

Even areas such as Juhu and Andheri, which saw a spurt in the number of citizen consensus candidates, did not fare any better. One of the few youngsters found at a polling booth, said, “I came to vote because my parents told me to. I don’t really know much about the candidates.”

Many took this as an opportunity to criticise the younger generation. “Confidence levels among the youth towards the political situation have seen a drastic dip. No amount of awareness works,” said Ajinkya Karnik, 42, Bhandup.

There were, however, a few exceptions. For Rubina Sheikh, 21, casting her first vote meant a possible resolution of the drainage and water supply problems at her Colaba home. “A lot is discussed in online forums about governance or the lack of it, but it is during the elections that we can actually make our contribution in ensuring better governance. This is our only opportunity to elect honest leaders and bring about a change in the society,” she said.

Also apparent during the voting was the class-divide. Wards with a predominant slum population, such as Ghatkopar’s Ramabai Colony in the east and Sainath Nagar in the west, saw a high turnout of youngsters.

Vaibhav Gurav, 19, who voted for the first time felt that many like him didn’t vote out of cynicism. “Most youngsters believe that nothing much can be gained out of voting, because there are hardly any good candidates.”