Lok Sabha elections 2019: PM Narendra Modi to interact with first-time voters
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Sunday address a gathering of first-time voters . He will seek their support for a second term, a ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said.
“Young voters are crucial as always, and the prime minister’s interaction is [aimed] to mobilise support from this set of the electorate,” said the BJP leader.
The event is likely to be held outside Delhi in the state capital of a major state. First-time voters elsewhere will be able to join the interaction at different locations through video conferencing.
Approximately 900 million people are eligible to vote in 2019 compared to 814.5 million five years earlier. This marks an increase of over 84 million voters. Over 15 million of them or 1.66% of the total electorate are in the 18-19 age group, compared to 23.1 million (2.8 % of the total voters) ahead of the 2014 Parliamentary elections.
Modi has called the 15 million as “millennium voters” who were born in 2000 and asked the BJP to reach out to them, according to people aware of the developments.
The BJP launched a Pehla Vote Modi Ko (first vote to Modi) campaign to woo the first-time voters . It has organised many outreach programme over the last three months to reach out to them.
“The size of millennium voters may look small, but they can be the deciding factor on many seats. If you take the 84 million new voters, their impact on the final outcome will be even greater,” the BJP leader said. The ruling party considers these voters crucial in 250-odd LS seats, especially in those seats where its victory margin was relatively thin .
Experts credit overwhelming support among young voters for the BJP’s return to power in 2014 when it won 282 seats . “The vote share of the BJP among young voters was 34.4 per cent, more than three percentage points higher than its average vote share of 31.1 per cent,” said Centre for the Study of Developing Societies director Sanjay Kumar in a paper . Some doubt the BJP would get the same response from young voters in 2019 elections. “I have my doubts about the success of any BJP programme in drawing young voters like it did in 2014,” said Centre for Reforms, Development and Justice president Sidharth Mishra.