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In pubs, coffee joints, the talk veers to politics

It could be the impact of television, radio or newspapers that are carrying lots of election-related news these days that be it pubs, coffee homes, college canteens, tea stalls or offices, the ongoing 2009 general election is being discussed avidly.
By HT Correspondent | IANS, New Delhi
UPDATED ON APR 28, 2009 10:56 AM IST

Sipping chilled beer at a pub in the South Extension market, Bini Philips suddenly asks her friends, "Guys, who are you voting for?"

This leads to a heated discussion on the ugly and bad face of politics and politicians, but Philips, a student of Lady Shri Ram College, said the "sometimes furious and angry debate" does not deter her friends from voting.

"I love to provoke my friends into discussing politics. What is the use of my studying political science if I cannot start a debate?" she said.

"But, come to think of it, it's kind of surprising but true... that whenever we all (friends) sit together these days our discussion tends to deviate towards elections," Philips told IANS, sitting and enjoying herself at the All Sports Bar at Connaught Place to catch an IPL match with her friends.

It could be the impact of television, radio or newspapers that are carrying lots of election-related news these days that be it pubs, coffee homes, college canteens, tea stalls or offices, the ongoing 2009 general election is being discussed avidly.

Angad Singh, who studies in the University School of Information Technology under IP University, said that as one sees various advertisements and campaigns on television, particularly where Bollywood actors are featured, youth tend to notice and talk.

"They are quite effective and motivating," he said.

"In fact, examinations are on in colleges. So we don't talk (elections) at home but in colleges when we go to libraries or otherwise, we find we are talking about the subject.

"Usually, when we are relaxing and gossiping we talk about these issues, but it's only after our discussion about the examination, campus gossip, teachers or, for that matter, girls," he added.

If the girls mostly talk about good-looking, educated and suave young politicians, the boys generally discuss promises and policies.

"Just last week, we were discussing the chances of Rahul Gandhi becoming prime minister," Riku Sharma, a second-year Jesus and Mary College student, who loves the 39-year-old Gandhi's dimples, told IANS.

"My friends wanted Priyanka Gandhi (to be prime minister). But Rahul is the right choice," said Sharma, who loves to hang out with her old schoolmates in the Janakpuri district centre for a burger and a cool drink in the evenings.

Her friend Gaurav Saxena disagreed.

"I think the BJP would be a better party for the nation. I think we should go by parties, not individuals," he held, to the angry protests of his other friends.

"At times, we get into fights when we talk about politics. So generally, I steer clear of airing my views," added the 20-year-old engineering student Gaurav.

While making plans for the May 7 balloting in the capital and munching salad at restaurant-cum-bar Qba, Eesha Singh, an advertising professional, told IANS: "Well, discussing politics has become fashionable.

"People who are least bothered are talking about this otherwise boring subject. I am happy at least people are showing interest. It's through discussions that mindsets change," she added.

However, there are a few who are not at all interested. Like 22-year-old Ankita Sahani, waiting for her friends at the Kamla Nagar-based "Barista", a famous coffee shop. She completely ignored the poster that declares "I pledge", asking people to vote.

Taking a sip of cappuccino, she said: "I know May 7 is election day. But I don't have a voter card. I didn't even try for it.

"I don't really care who wins or loses the election. And those who come to power don't care a damn (for us). For them it is just money and power. They will come to us again after five years with the same promises," said the Delhi University student.

But her friend Sonal Grover, who is studying in the Pearl Academy of Fashion, said she would vote, "hundred percent".

Enjoying a glass of beer in Mircheez at Connaught Place, Rahul Dongre, 24, a student of law in Delhi University, said: "I think it's extremely necessary to be responsible for your country. By voting, we become a part of democracy. I voted in 2004 and I am going to vote this time too."

His college-mate Vivek Jha said he knows whom to vote for.

"Arre bhai, in the college what else do we do? We prepare for our future. And one thing we quickly learn is to debate and talk politics. Let's be ready (for the future)," said Jha, who dreams to be a politician one day.

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