Many independent candidates and those representing political parties who are contesting for various posts in the local body elections start their campaign early in the morning and continue till 10 p.m. But here is a group of nearly 100 youngsters, mostly college goers, who campaign for their friend (an independent candidate) only from 5.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m.

The youth are campaigning for their friend K.S. Dhanasekaran (25), an entrepreneur and a member of the Friends of Police, for the post of councillor in Ward Number 5 of Venanthur Town Panchayat.

The students said that they divide into small groups and cover about 50 to 100 houses a day to canvas the nearly 700 houses in that ward.

One of the campaigners S. Gopalakrishnan (22), a final year M.Sc. Computer Science student, who is residing in the ward, told The Hindu that their four-hour campaign was highly efficient as they met voters at their doorsteps, while it did not affect their studies as well.

Only about 20 students are residing in this ward whereas the rest are from other wards in the same town panchayat, he added.

The ward has lacked basic facilities such as public toilets, proper drainage and street lights in addition to other basic amenities and the sitting two-time councillor has hardly done anything to meet these demands, he said.

According to him, this motivated them to field a young independent candidate contest the elections. G. Prem, an M.Com. CS student, said that they initially planned to make candidates compete in all the 15 wards in the town panchayat.

“But, we had financial constraints as the election expenses were the funds pooled in by us (students) with each student contributing to the best of ability as we managed to collect nearly Rs. 20,000,” he added.

“It was then we decided to have a candidate in ward 5, the biggest ward in the town panchayat with nearly 1,600 voters.”

He noted that based on his success in the elections they had plans to sponsor and support more young candidates in the coming elections.

“We want to prove that rural youth are also actively involved in politics and are interested in the welfare of the people,” he noted.

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