Fourteen-year-old Abhiraj Singh believes educating voters about rights is the only way to prevent ‘netas’ from fooling citizens with false promises in the name of religion, caste or bribe.
The Class-9 student of Delhi Public School (DPS) Noida was among the 2,000 DPS Noida students and representative students from other schools in the district who participated in the Voter’s Day celebrations on Wednesday.
Students, also from Step by Step, DPS GB Nagar, SavitriBai Phule School and Mahamaya Balika Inter College, took part in poster making and rangoli competitions with the theme of ‘Voter Awareness’.
Though Singh won’t be voting in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls on February 11, he is determined that when he does vote a few years later, it will be for a worthy candidate.
“It is important that we hold politicians accountable in this election by making citizens aware of their voting rights. I will vote for the person who connects with the public in these five years,” said Singh, who took part in a skit by DPS Noida students.
“We wanted to send out a message that voting day is not just another holiday. It is an extremely important day to exercise our rights in a democracy and we must cast our vote wisely,” said Singh.
Singh’s thoughts are echoed by his friends Aditya Tiwari and Aanchal Thakur, who believe that the right to vote is a privilege and citizens should not cast it as charity.
“Our theme for the event was ‘don’t just daan (give away) your vote (matdaan) but cast it wisely. We students believe that apathy from the public results in entry of criminal/anti-social elements into politics. It is our duty to make our parents aware of their voting rights,” said Thakur, a Class-11 student at DPS, Noida.
“Today, even if the voter turnout is 50%, it is considered as a success by news channels and political parties. I believe it’s a matter of utter shame. Our priority should be to ensure the turnout is 80-90% in the next elections,” said Class-9 student Tiwari.
Mahamaya Balika Inter College student Kajal Kumar said the purpose of the event was to convey to the citizens that if they don’t vote, then they will have only themselves to blame after the elections.
“To fulfil the purpose of democracy, it is important that citizens vote. To make them aware about their voting rights, the onus falls on these young shoulders. They are the ones who will eventually sensitise their parents and neighbours,” said Gautam Budh Nagar district magistrate NP Singh.