Tired of empty rhetoric, youngsters in Coimbatore want to vote for change

It is that time of the year when the speakers blare out a thousand manifestos and storms brew over endless cups of tea and coffee. It is the elections. And, youngsters in college corridors, coffee shops and canteens argue, debate and discuss about who they will vote for.

“Someone accessible,” says the 24-year-old Abhay C.R. “We are tired of big promises. We want them to be translated into action.” Abhay, who is a member of an anti-corruption group in Coimbatore says he wants the youth to follow politics at the ward level.

“We must look at who is representing our ward and not worry too much about who will rule Delhi. According to me, the leader should be a common man, who is hard-working and honest. Anyone, from an auto driver to a business man, should be able to meet him. He must not be confined to his air-conditioned bungalow.”

“The leader must be a man who respects the hard-earned money of the citizen,” says R. Arun from GRD College of Arts and Science. “We pay taxes for the development of the city. But the leaders squander this money.”

Mukul Ranjan, an engineering graduate who heads an NGO called Enlightening Future- Enlift complains, “Plans for a metro have been going on over the last one year. But nothing has come of it, yet. Or, take the case of NH connecting Arasur and Tirupur. The project was conceived around three years ago. It is still incomplete.”

Mukul also thinks the new Government should meet the aspirations of the youth in the city.

“They must encourage them to initiate start-ups and business ventures. I faced a lot of hurdles while setting up Enlift. Banks were hesitant and would not allow me to open an account for my NGO. This attitude must change for the city to develop.” The race behind development should not be at the cost of the environment, feels Prathap Nandagopalan, a member of an NGO called Save Wetlands Coimbatore.

“I want the government to give equal priority to development and safety of the environment. So many buildings and educational institutions come up in the city by occupying illegal lands. The government must monitor this.”

Will they care?

Drainage, power cuts, traffic regulations…these are some of the main issues of the city they need to focus on says Abhay. “The Sungam junction is still the most chaotic part of the city. No one supervises the place. Accidents occur there on a daily basis.”

The Government must give priority to the job security of the youth, says Mukul. “There are so many engineering colleges in the city. Every year, they produce hundreds of graduates. All of them end up jobless, because, there are no job opportunities and there are no new companies that hire youngsters.” One reason why no companies come to the city is because of the lack of infrastructure, he says. “Due to power crisis, no companies want to invest in this city. They need generators to run the equipment.”

“We need some one, who is young and spirited” says Arushi a student of DJ Academy. “They can understand our aspirations better. He should also empathize with women’s issues. And also improve the law and order system here.”

Risk-takers

Most importantly the elected person should not be afraid to take risks, says Kannan R.K from Kumaraguru College of Technology. Kannan also feels this time a coalition is likely to form the government at the centre. “No one will win a clear majority. And why should they? If three people from three different parties, with a common goal for a better India can come together to form a government, that is the best scenario. I am not keen on any one party winning. I have had enough of their ideology. Any one who can offer me positive change, I will welcome him irrespective of which party he is from.”