About 21 per cent Indians born between the mid-1990s and mid-2010s say a potential partner not aligning politically with them is a dating red flag.
The personal is political, feminist Carol Hanisch wrote, and those dating in India are taking it to heart.
Over 60 per cent young Indians say it's important that their political beliefs align with a prospective partner's, according to a survey by dating app Tinder India.
But that's not all. About 24 per cent of Indian women say it is a 'turnoff' if someone they are dating is not aware of current social issues, found a research by the women-first dating app Bumble.
For Gen Z, the choice is even more obvious. About 21 per cent Indians born between the mid-1990s and mid-2010s say a potential partner not aligning politically with them is a dating red flag.
"Indian daters today are looking for shared priorities and values in a potential partner," says Samarpita Samaddar, India communications director, Bumble.
"It's becoming increasingly important for Gen Z and millennials in India to align on the same priorities as their potential partners in life -- equality, human rights, inclusivity, respect for diversity, identity and LGBTQ+ rights."
From working professionals dipping their toes in the dating pool to nanoinfluencers who already brave a barrage of online trolling over different views, shared social values is the buzzword.
"Young adults are throwing aside traditional dating norms and increasingly bonding over shared causes," says Aahana Dhar, country director of communications, Tinder India.
"Gen Z also knows what they're looking for when considering someone's profile, with interests, lifestyle preferences and dating intent outweighing everything else."
This trend is also visible in the five states currently holding elections, with the poll bugle leading to more political conversations.
Take, for instance, Ayushi Rathod, who hails from Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh. The community manager who works at an Indore-based startup says it's important for her to discuss the person's politics before dating them.
"I believe we need to have an opinion about the world we live in. It mostly helps in identifying a person's belief system," she says.
Why someone votes for a particular party is important for her because, she says, "radicalism bugs me". Supporting or opposing someone on the basis of certain stereotypes is a big no for her while dating.
That's also the case with Abhay Edwin Chacko.
The MP-born graphic designer says that awareness about politics indicates how socially and intellectually informed or restricted one is.
"As an out and proud libertarian gay man, politics -- both on a personal and national level -- does become a major deciding factor in choosing my partner."
Politics is also not just a clash between two or more parties, but about knowing one's privileges, rights and duties, says Chacko, who's currently based out of Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
"I definitely won't talk public policies and political manifestoes with my partner over our morning coffee, but it certainly helps to know that our value systems will align if we ever have to deal with an issue," he adds.
Even when Indian daters say they are open to opposite viewpoints, there are limits, like in the case of Mayank Mathur.
The Ajmer-born actor, who's working in the Hindi film industry in Mumbai, says he has a casual chat about politics before dating someone, but that's not the sole criteria while choosing a partner.
Yet, he admits that he sometimes worries which party his partner will support "because I want to have a very simple and smooth relationship".
Ojas Shrivastava, a photographer and aspiring film-maker from Chhattisgarh, is fine with dating someone who votes for a party he doesn't like.
"But if they are extreme with a school of thought," the 19 year old from Raipur finds himself "moving away from that person".
So do opposing political views mean people would rather keep the distance than date and discover?
"Absolutely," says Bengaluru-based relationship coach Radhika Mohta who hails from MP where elections are underway.
Politics ends up becoming a deal-breaker especially when prospective partners are on the extreme ends of ideologies, she adds.
Women, particularly, who are already dealing with anonymous trolls on the Internet, don't want to come back home and deal with the same negative energy, she says.
The matchmaker, who interacts with many from India's Silicon Valley, says quite a few of these "cosmopolitan people are fine with having professional engagements with others", but when it enters the personal zone of 'I am going to live here, or I am going to date you', then it's a different dynamic altogether.
Couples from different faiths do find it difficult to hold ground during politically charged environments like elections, says Jaipur-based mental health professional Pradnya Deshpande.
"If their opinions happen to be opposite of their partners', it leads to strong clashes or dislike in the long run," adds Deshpande, who specialises in women's mental health and relationship therapy.
Besides elections, public policies also bring up difficult emotions for many people.
Prasanna Kothapalli, a public relations executive from Hyderabad, says, "If one partner benefits from certain policies like reservations, while the other faces challenges due to them, it can strain the relationship."
The need to have a partner with similar political views may hold greater importance for members of historically marginalised communities, says Riea Enok, a psychotherapist at e-counselling platform The Mood Space.
"For instance, a number of my female clients prioritise the political views of their partner. How their partner's political beliefs connect to equal rights and gender issues could make a huge difference to how they are treated," Enok says.
This trend of value-matching is indeed on the rise, says sociologist Devika Mittal. The assistant professor at Delhi University's Jesus and Mary College also has a word of caution.
"While the social order is political, it is also becoming polarised," she says.
In such a scenario, political assertiveness and forming bonds on the basis of political affiliation may lead to one-sided narratives, leaving no space for critical thinking, she adds.
Amy Felicia Danielle from Mizoram concurs. The academic-cum-teaching associate at Indian Institute of Mass Communication's Aizawl campus says she is fine with her partner's choice to vote for any party.
Politics doesn't usually come up in her everyday conversations with her partner of three years, but because this is an election year, they have had one- or two-hour-long discussions over it.
She doesn't worry if her partner may support a rival party. Fortunately, in this election, the two are supporting the same party.
Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/Rediff.com