Election 2014 What do Young Indians want?

Anumeha Verma
Published: May 2014

elections

An unprecedented number of youngsters have become eligible to vote in the General Elections of 2014, many of them students. This Election season we bring to our readers the vision that students from Jain University have for a new India.

81 crore voters, 11 million poll personnels, 9.36 lakh polling stations, 1.8 million EVMs and the largest number of claimed political parties- the battle has begun and the world’s largest democracy is witnessing its biggest ever General Elections (Lok Sabha). Several columns are being devoted in the newspapers for analysis and discussions while debates are running rife on the television news channels, all pertaining to elections. The 16th Lok Sabha Election of India is also one of the most talked about in the history of Indian democracy and perhaps would also be the most keenly observed as the people of the country give their mandate and choose their political leaders. The reasons reside in a host of issues from emerging political leaders to the economic development of the country.

Election campaigns are synonymous with elections and political parties have gone all the way to woo their voters. A component that can be found common to all the election campaigns being run, is their relentless pursuit of the youth of India. Reason for this lies in the statistics. 90,000 of the population eligible to cast their vote in 2014 General Elections belong to the age group between 18 and 22 and they are going to be first time voters. This group of voters has their own agendas and expectations from the elections and the political leaders. They represent the future of the country and the vision they have for India is sure to say a lot on where the country would stand in the coming years.

Issues on Radar of the Youth

Only 6.3 per cent of the seats in Parliament are filled by those between 25-40 years of age, rest goes well beyond this age bracket. Is 2014 General Elections going to change the trend? We would not know till the results are out and to be very practical one might not expect much to change in this regard, when the political parties in India are just waking up to the idea of young blood at the helm of affairs. The change in cadres may or may not be on the anvil but one thing is certain that the young India is restless and wants to see a political set up which reflects their hopes and aspirations and talks in their language. Here are a few agendas that the youth of today is talking about.

Corruption needs to end

lok-shabaGoing into Lok Sabha polls without talking about anti-corruption measures could very well sound a death knell for any political party. Corruption has plagued India for a long time but a call for action against it has gained momentum in the country in the last five years. People have come out on the street to support anti-corruption movements and a substantial chunk of this crowd was formed by the youngsters. Ramleela Maidan and Jantar Mantar in Delhi became the battleground, from where the people of India told their leaders that they will not sit idly and allow the country to be held hostage by corruption. It caught the imagination of the rest of the nation and finally the Bill appointing corruption ombudsman at both centre and state was passed. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that corruption happens to be one of the biggest concerns for the youth. Many are seeing it as the first step towards true development. Says 23 year old Ankitha U, a student of Psychology, “If corruption ends, it would be a beginning for the rest of the development. Even to get a little thing done, one is expected to pay bribes. This culture needs to end.”

Aparna Raghunath, who is pursuing a postgraduate Degree in Forensic Science, agrees with Ankitha. “Corruption is like a web with a huge network. Everyone becomes a part of it sooner or later, whether they like it or not. It is important to curb it if India wants to see itself in a new avatar in 21st century.” Interestingly, many young people look at corruption as something that has derailed the political system and faith of people in the electoral process.

“Corruption has taken its roots everywhere, including our political system. It is hindering the growth of India by allowing a few to amass wealth while rest of the country lives in poverty,” says Shubham Thakur from Himachal Pradesh. Shubham feels that the electorate requires to have a firm belief in the political institution to be a part of it and that cannot happen until people have faith that they are electing honest leaders.

 - Anumeha Verma is at present working with Jain University and believes that strategic communication plays a major role in solving development issues.