Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Himachal Pradesh's young voters weigh 'dictatorship' versus 'unstable coalition' choice, prioritise education, jobs

According to the data shared by the Election Commission, there are over 1.70 lakh voters across the state aged between 18 and 19 years who will be voting for the first time.
Last Updated : 27 May 2024, 12:32 IST
Last Updated : 27 May 2024, 12:32 IST

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Shimla: Quality education, job opportunities and women security top the priorities of first-time voters in Himachal Pradesh. Some of them also see the polls as a choice between a 'BJP dictatorship' and an 'unstable coalition' represented by the I.N.D.I.A. bloc.

According to the data shared by the Election Commission, there are over 1.70 lakh voters across the state aged between 18 and 19 years who will be voting for the first time. Elections for the four Lok Sabha seats and six assembly bypolls will be held simultaneously on June 1.

The policies of successive governments to appease voters by doling freebies should be discontinued, says Riya, a first-time voter from Solan.

"The tax-paying middle class bears the burden of freebies and money for development projects is diverted,' she said.

Another first-time voter Nitish said, "I am in a dilemma to choose between dictatorship and a coalition," apparently referring to the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre and the I.N.D.I.A. bloc, respectively.

"It's all about making my voice heard and advocating for positive change in the political landscape" he added.

Led by the Congress, the opposition I.N.D.I.A. (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) bloc comprises over 20 parties, including the Aam Aadmi Party, Samajwadi Party, Shiv Sena (UBT) and Trinamool Congress.

Rohit, a first-year student who will exercise his franchise for the first time said, "The BJP government has become arrogant, constitutional institutions are being misused and voting for Modi would imply (supporting) a dictatorial government. On the other hand, going in favour of I.N.D.I.A. bloc would mean (favouring) a coalition and unstable government, which is again not good for the country."

The performance of the past ten years of the BJP-led Central government evoked mixed response among the first-time voters with some lauding the tenure of the previous government, while others being critical of its functioning.

Anshul Thakur, a student of a journalism course in Government Post Graduation College, Sanjauli said she is excited to cast her first vote.

Thakur said she would vote for a party that is committed to bringing better job opportunities in government and private sectors and improving women safety.

Prikshit, a student of Government Post Graduation College, Chaura Maidan, said he is looking forward to being an entrepreneur and willing to explore the new era innovative sectors.

He said he would vote for party that is inclined towards new technologies and promoting the start-up culture with a focus on youth.

"As a first-time voter, I would like the government to work on the UCC (Uniform Civil Code) and education policies and focus on the states and places otherwise ignored by the government such as the country's northeast region or Ladakh and include more culture-based services," said Vashisht Sharma, another student of PG College, Sanjauli.

There are also some first-time voters who said they would go with the NOTA (None of the Above) option to express their discontent with the candidates fielded by the political parties.

Aditi Thakur, a resident of Mandi who is set to cast her vote for the first time, said she will be opting for NOTA in the Lok Sabha elections, as she felt that none of the candidates met her expectations.

Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | Will it be Narendra Modi's 'Viksit Bharat' or Rahul Gandhi's I.N.D.I.A.? As the world's largest democracy votes to choose its future, track live news, in-depth opinions, and analyses only on Deccan Herald.

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Published 27 May 2024, 12:32 IST

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