That's not 'cool', dude!

That's not 'cool', dude!

indifferent Very few youngsters turned up to cast their votes.

The BBMP elections are over and the young voters’ apathy has been a subject of much embarrassment and debate. Only 45 per cent voters turned up, and those who did were mostly from the least affluent and developed parts of the City. Educated young people were largely conspicuous by their absence.

In spite of a host of media and Internet campaigns targeting them almost exclusively, trying to convince them that it is, in fact, ‘cool’ to vote.

When quizzed, a host of  reasons were offered. ‘Too busy’, ‘Registration is too complicated’, ‘Candidates do not address issues of interest’, ‘Political bickering is a turn-off’........

 But the truth of the matter is ‘when young people ignore politics, politicians ignore young people’. So why do most youngsters take such a cavalier attitude toward voting when they have the largest stake in the City’s future?

Sneha Menon is studying to be a journalist and was very keen to cast her vote but was unable to do so. “I was input editor for the day and covering the elections live. My college is located very far away from my polling booth so I could not make it,” she says.

Abdul Subhan, a politically active and aware student, is fuming that in spite of repeated attempts his name has not made it to the voter’s list. “I am from Bidar. I have tried several times to get myself registered as a voter. But it was impossible. I was told that application forms are only given during election time. Other centres in Bangalore give me the run-around. I simply could not vote,” he says.

 Maulik Doshi, an articulate young student who is conscious of his rights and duties says he was unable to vote because the polling booth shut before he could get there.
“I reached at 5.15 pm. The booth closed at 5 pm,” he says regretfully.

Neha Jacob and Kritika Singhania live in the City but are not registered voters. “We are not originally from here. We found it impossible to register ourselves as voters,” they explain.

Madhukeshwar Desai, a student voter had this to say, “The most disillusioned among us, who believe that ‘all politicians are the same’, need to be proved wrong. With young faces entering Parliament this year we should make political awareness a priority. Otherwise the angry young will one day become apathetic old.”

Pranay Prakash, an engineering student, who voted says several of his peers did not. “One friend said she fell asleep. Some found their names missing from the voter’s list or mentioned in wrong ward numbers. Redundant promises are common and voters get turned off by constant bickering and speeches. But the fact remains if you don’t vote, you can’t complain, and voting does matter even if it is just one ballot.”

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