First-time voters are ready to usher in a new government with varied expectations

“It used to be very rare to come across college students who sit and discuss politics with as much fervour as they talk about cinema,” says K. Shakthivel, a student of Pandian Saraswathi Yadav Engineering College. “Times have however, changed,” he states.

While the polling date for the 16th Lok Sabha elections inches closer, many first-time voters are gearing up to cast their votes and usher in a new government with varied expectations.

As of January 2014, the Madurai Parliamentary constituency has 53,127 voters between the ages of 18 and19 years.

Officials from the district administration say that the numbers have further increased with many youngsters enrolling themselves during the special enrolment camps that were conducted in March.

Improvement in the quality of education offered in the district is the need of the hour, opine many young voters.

“It is enough if politicians focus on improving the quality of existing institutions for higher education in the district instead of promising to bring in more colleges,” says R. Keerthana, a student of Anna University, Madurai.

With the district already grappling with water scarcity ahead of the summer, the need to implement techniques for effective management of water resources and ensure proper maintenance of water tanks in the constituency should be given focus, a majority of the young voters feel.

“Political parties have sought to battle it out by gauging the freebies which can garner most votes. Election promises nowadays have little focus on the need for infrastructure and industrial development in Madurai,” rues M. Sripathy Pandian, a student of S. Vellaichamy Nadar College.

While disillusionment with the existing political scenario is high among the young voters, the emergence of new parties and young leaders has brought them some cheer.

“While we aren’t sure of how effective the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) or an independent candidate would be in bringing about a change, the fact that they are firm in rooting out corruption should be encouraged,” feels Aravind Karthik, a student of Mannar Thirumalai Naicker College.

The scams and issues such as inflation that have plagued the country over the last five years have made the young voters much more aware of the choices they should make, says K. Sundar, a young student voter.

“With a sizable chunk of the population being first time voters, we can truly usher in change if they seek to be well informed,” he concludes.

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