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'Give MTV, Channel V their due'
Dhiraj Shetty in Mumbai |
April 27, 2004 00:56 IST
Youngsters form the bulk of the Indian population now and their vote will be crucial in the formation of the next government. rediff.com met some first-time voters after the polling in Mumbai. But not all, it turned out, chose to exercise their franchise.
Sunil is a student who lives in the Mumbai suburb of Andheri and works part-time. He cast his vote today for the first time saying it is every citizen's duty and responsibility. The ruling National Democratic Alliance, he says, has been good for the country. He is very happy that the international community now treats India with a lot of respect and seeks its opinion on every major issue. Though his family traditionally supports the Congress, he voted for the National Democratic Alliance.
His colleague Rohit is also a student who lives in Bhayander. He agreed it is every citizen's duty and responsibility to vote but did not cast his because he had to go to office. He says the NDA has done well and even if Vajpayee is not around, there are others to continue the good work.
Muskaan, a student, resides in Goregaon. She did not vote and shied away when asked why. It was after much prodding that she revealed she is not well versed with politics. Her concern is about the rising cost of education. Secondly, after paying for it, there is no guarantee of getting a secure and steady job.
Abhishek, a student, resides in Grant Road. He too did not vote. He had given his name for inclusion in the electoral roll but says it does not appear in the list and so he could not vote. He is only interested in local issues and is not well versed with national politics. He wants education to be within the grasp of everyone, rich or poor; and complained of widespread corruption. He hopes to get a government job but says the situation is rather bleak.
Clayton voted for first time on Monday but won't tell who he voted for. He believes it is every citizen's duty and responsibility to vote. A Malad resident, he recently completed his post-graduation course and works as a fashion designer. He is not very well versed with politics but is unhappy with the way the nation is being run. Asked for specifics, he pointed to the education system. He did mention that the infrastructure has improved and the new shopping malls are welcome. He knows Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee but was unable to name any other leader in the Bharatiya Janata Party or the NDA.
Abhinav also voted for first time saying it is every citizen's duty and responsibility. He is generally satisfied with the state of affairs and happy with the education he got but said the education system could do with improvement. Among alternative leaders in the BJP/NDA, he named Pramod Mahajan and Arun Jaitley. As a parting shot, he said MTV and Channel V deserved credit for encouraging youngsters to vote. "The government thinks they are frivolous but they are responsible for a lot of youngsters getting themselves registered as voters and going out to the polling booth to cast their votes."
Often people are heard complaining about the state of affairs in the country and wonder how their vote, just one vote, can make a difference. But it appears that youngsters today don't necessarily think along those lines.
Muskaan, who did not vote, did appear conscious of the fact that she had shirked her responsibility. Abhinav and Clayton did not think their vote would not make a difference. They put it thus: 'Only if every person votes will we be able to make a difference'.