The first-time voters in Amritsar Lok Sabha constituency have claimed that they exercised their franchise on Wednesday not under any family influence or pressure but in an independent manner.
Talking to Hindustan Times, they also spoke about issues affecting them which made them step out and vote while expressing their disappointment over the mudslinging campaigns of rival political candidates in Amritsar where BJP's Arun Jaitley was locked in a bitter fight with Congress candidate Capt Amarinder Singh.
Sahil Sharma, 22, MBA aspirant
"I can raise my finger on various issues rightfully only if I have the ink-mark on it. By voting for the first time, I am feeling like a responsible citizen of the country as now, I think I have also played an important role in choosing the new government. I chose the party and the candidate after making a thorough study about them."
"I made my own independent choice while voting as influence of others hampers one's decision-making process and creates confusion. Confusion actually starts at the time of campaigning and prevails till the time the poll button is pressed. Time has come when youth should make their own opinion and also demonstrate a change on their personal front. Change will start at the level of every citizen." Shagun Sharma, 23, MBA aspirant
"Like all elections, the most interesting part this time also was to see the ministers reaching out to the people after five years and asking for vote. I wonder where do they go after elections? Where does the concern for the city/state goes for five years. All the candidates were busy spitting venom on each other. They also aroused people's sentiments over the 1984 riots rather than talking about issues concerning Amritsar and its people.I, like every other youngster, was confused whom to vote for, but finally while pressing the button, I applied my own mind." Shivam Khanna,19, BBA student
"I attended rallies of all parties because I wanted to vote after knowing them all. I was amused at all the false promises made by various parties made during the campaign. Whosoever comes to power, I request them to tackle the problem of unemployment in Punjab by promoting industry.The drug menace is another major issue in the state and our leaders must save the youth from this scourage." Richa Joshi,18, BA-LLB student
"While voting if youngsters feel that the family is creating pressure for a specific candidate or a party, they should keep silent and go in for their own independent choice on the polling day. Suppport the right party and candidate who can actually understand the ground reality and work accordingly after being elected." Sajanmeet Singh Sandhu, student of School of Social Sciences, GNDU
"I had a very interesting experience at the polling station. It was all new for me. As I walked in and picked up the candidate card, I got confused as I did not know there were 23 candidates in the fray. I was aware of only threemajor candidates. Then after thinking for some time, I pressed the button." Navjot Singh Dhunna, 20, student of School of Social Sciences, GNDU
"During this election, I was disappointed by the role of media. Many news organisations were biased in their approach and every intelligent reader/viewer knows that. If I have voted today, it is not with the help of media's projection, it is by virtue of the clarity of my own mind. Campaigning in Amritsar this time was nothing but a mud-slinging activity." Snigdha Kumar,19, B Com student
"Campaigning by the political stalwarts in Amritsar did not make sense to me. They were just digging old graves, spitting venom on each other and no one was talking about the real issues. It is high time they started making sense and made efforts to set up good education institutions in Amritsar." Vani Sharma, 20, BA student
"When there are political discussions at home, we, being first-time voters, tend to get influenced. But we should take up responsibility to vote for the right person with a clean record."