Coimbatore

Parties try to woo first-time voters

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Ahead of the 2016 Assembly elections, political parties are eyeing the first-time voters.

Politicians either visit campuses or draw the students to their events or reach out to them through the social media.

DMK treasurer M.K. Stalin interacted with college students during his ‘Namakku Naame’ campaign. Similarly, PMK founder S. Ramadoss asked his party cadres to familiarise students with their chief ministerial candidate Anbumani Ramadoss.

Parties are working overtime to chalk out strategies to reach out to the first-time voters.Assurances are around issues close to the heart of the youth — corruption-free governance, prohibition, making education loan accessible and creating job opportunities.

Coimbatore Mayor P. Rajkumar is confident that laptops and bicycles the AIADMK government is distributing free of cost to higher secondary students and college students would convert into votes for the party.

DMK’s Coimbatore north district secretary M. Veeragopal said that they would soon work on strategies to attract student voters.

On getting instructions from the headquarters, they would train their students’ wing to campaign among students as election draws close. PMK is planning to distribute pamphlets on Dr. Anbumani among students.

While the national parties focused on students, right from membership enrolment, the regional parties seem to have missed out considerably on this. Among students, the CPI-M’s student wing, Students’ Federation of India (SFI), is popular as the movement is actively involved in raising its voice when issues such as fleecing by institutions, denial of education loan and other issues pertaining to students arise.

The last powerful weapon that it took to streets was the Right to Education admissions.

National vice-president of BJP youth wing A.P. Muruganandam said they have students as campus ambassadors to reach out to the student voters. During intensive enrolment drive conducted earlier this year, they gained momentum among students and the youth.

“During the drives we conducted near colleges, we identified those students who were involved in politics and trained them to become campus ambassadors,” he said, adding that they have such ambassadors in 700 colleges across the State and a good number of them in colleges in Coimbatore. “They actively share information on the social media and counter campaign rumours against the party,” he said.

Students, a majority of them, are still unaware of such drives by political parties.

While political parties are trying to put their best foot forward to attract fresh voters, the students expect more.

V. Manivarman, a student, said parties should be transparent enough to publish financial status of candidates and their party, before and after elections.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 12:34:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/parties-try-to-woo-firsttime-voters/article7907014.ece

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