First-time voters are all eager to exercise their franchise

First-time voters who will be exercising their franchise in the May 5 Assembly elections are hoping that their vote would bring about a small yet significant change. This follows the wave of the civil society movements that have swept the country over the past two years.

According to the Chief Election Officer, there are around 35.58 lakh first-time voters in the State, all aged between 18 and 22. In Bangalore alone, their number is 5.34 lakh. Some of them The Hindu spoke were full of enthusiasm and termed their power to vote as the “first step to bring about a revolutionary change”. But there were the sceptics too.

Punith Shankar, a first year student of Sir M. Visvesvaraya Institute of Technology who participated in Anna Hazare’s protests for the Jan Lok Pal Bill, said: “The Anna Hazare movement got such a stupendous response from the youth. It is important to choose a good leader; this is our responsibility.”

Satish B., a second year political science student at Jain University, said that his keenness to vote was honed after the rape and brutal assault on the 23-year-old paramedical student in New Delhi last year. Stating that voting for a good candidate would help bring about better governance, he said: “I will vote as I am concerned about the safety and security of women in the country.”

Youngsters, who are excited about getting inked for the first time, said that they expect a lot from the elected representatives. From a “friendly and transparent system” to “equality for all communities”, the youngsters are yearning for change.

Meghana G., a second year student of journalism at Jain University, said: “I don’t want to blame the government without casting my vote. Voting for the right person can bring about a change. I will make sure that people in my area cast their vote. This way, we can change small things in society, such as managing garbage.” What influences their choice? Most youngsters said that they would pick their candidate based on their histories posted on social networking sites and blogs, besides their (candidates’) websites.