City youngsters can't wait to get inked for the first time

City youngsters can't wait to get inked for the first time

Many of the 1.72 lakh first time voters in Delhi are eagerly waiting for the day of the Assembly poll on February 7, as they want to be part of the democratic exercise. Some simply want to post a selfie on social media with an inked finger.

Ayusha Chaudhary, 18, a student of Lady Shri Ram College, said: “Voting for the first time is a surreal experience. I wish to exercise my legal right by casting my vote each and every time now, to see a better India.”

Another first time voter, Himanshu, 18, a student of Jamia Millia Islamia, is looking to be the first among his friends to cast his vote on the balloting day.

“I want to beat my friends to the polling booth and post a selfie on Facebook,” said the resident of Saket.

Picking a candidate is not an easy task for some young voters. A few may vote according to their family tradition, some may go with what their friends are doing and another set of first-time voters may turn to the internet and spend hours comparing the contestants in the field.

A first time voter from Lajpat Nagar said:  “The entire voting process makes me nervous. Voting decisions should be well thought-out. I want to be an informed voter.”

“A website which provides instant information about the candidates in your constituency, including their criminal records and assets is quite handy,” he said.

Since the last Assembly polls in 2013, the number of first time voters in the electoral rolls has come down. The first time voters in December 2013 polls were 4.05 lakh and for the February 7 Assembly polls the number of young voters is 1.72 lakh.

For some young voters from Delhi, who are studying in other states, casting their life’s first ballot in the city is still a distant dream.   

Chirayu Jain, a Delhi voter studying law in Bangalore who turned 18 two years ago, said: “Having been in Bangalore for the past two years, I haven’t been able to exercise my right to vote even once.”

The 2013 Assembly polls recorded a turnout of 65.86  percent.  Out of these less than one percent of the votes were cast using the NOTA (None Of The Above) button on the electronic voting machines.

The option of NOTA in the voting machines is also an attraction for a few first time voters in the polls next month.

Ashna Bajaj, a Delhi University student residing in Wazirpur, claims she may use the NOTA button.

“I don’t really see any of the parties good enough and my constituency especially seems to lack good leaders,” she said.

In the coming days, the Delhi election office has planned drives to educate voters, especially the first time voters, to participate in the democratic exercise in large numbers. Special camps will also be organised in colleges to sensitise the young voters.