As the polling booths in 223 electoral constituencies get ready across Karnataka for Legislative Assembly elections on May 12, all eyes will be on the youth of the state. The 18-19 age group has taken the registration office by storm with a whooping 15 lakh first time voters, making it one of the highest number of electorates in the category. For political parties which have tried their best to win as many votes in different categories, this year the prize catch are the youth.
One of the reasons for this increase is SVEEP (Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation). This is a programme of multiple media inventions, spreading awareness in Pre University Colleges and Professional institutions. The strategy for all the three parties is trying to reach the youth through every platform. Election campaigns have flooded Social media pages. Debates and discussions have been held in college with the students to understand what they are expecting from each party. Congress has had a head start in wooing the student population by promising free bus passes for students and free education for girls till their post graduation.
The young generation is all set and pumped to vote in their very first election.
The ratio of female to male voters has increased from 958 in 2014 to 972 this years. We spoke to 19-year old Yashaswini Ganesh who is set to cast her vote in Yelahanka, Bengaluru. She say,“I am excited because now I can do almost everything my parents can do”. A sense of pride and importance grows within these young hearts at the thought of being able to contribute on such a large scale.
Being a first time voter one would think that they would be lost and in need of guidance. But the young generation has been following the elections closely. They are not easily swayed and are aware of the power their votes hold.
Sanvidha Rajesh, an eighteen year old student from Mount Carmel College says,“You know what you have got to do when you get there (polling booth) and probably know whom to vote for based on what you hear and other’s opinions”.
The youth have expectations too. They will not cast their votes for those who do not deliver. From changes in the cities to development in the rural sectors, they have it all thought out. “They better do the work they shouted and screamed about in their tenure, rather than in the election time only”, expresses Sanvidha.
Eighteen year old Heera Cheppudira, is casting her vote in Madikeri, Coorg. Coorg comes under the rural poll. Heera voices out what most of the people in her area expect of the coming government. She says, “I would like them to take farmers into consideration and safety for women”. Others like Yashaswini have more basic needs like better connectivity of metros in the city of Bengaluru.
But not all who have voted are going to their respective polls. The month of May is known as the season of exams. Entrance exams for colleges are happening throughout the month and a few fall around the time of the elections. Exams such as COMEDK, CLAT, AIEEE and ISAT are all being held on 13th of May, a day after the elections. Students appearing for these exams have to prepare and going anywhere one day prior to the elections is out of the question for them.
Nonetheless, the response from the student population has been big in these elections. They are all ready to be a part of the upcoming change.
By: Minnal Paranan.