Women, first-time voters come out in strength

First-time voters G. Yamuna and Jothi Prabha. Photo: T. Singaravelou  

Women and first-time voters were out in strength to exercise their franchise for the 2016 Assembly elections, not just in urban Puducherry but also in rural areas.

The percentage of women voter turnout was more than that of men in Puducherry till 4 p.m. Nearly 65.62 per cent of women cast their vote as against 64.5 per cent men.

The enthusiasm of first-time voters to participate in the democratic exercise was infectious though they were still forming ideas about how their legislators or the government should function.

Many were excited to experience the power to choose their representatives. First-time voter M. Abilash had come down from Coimbatore where he is studying civil engineering to Puducherry to cast his vote. Exercising his democratic right at the Thattanchavady constituency, he said that every legislator should visit the constituencies regularly and address the needs of the people. “I do not see any legislator coming to the constituency after the elections. There are many issues, including basic infrastructure and traffic problems that need to be addressed,” he said.

Ignorant of candidates

There were many first-time voters who were still ignorant about the candidates contesting in their constituencies. Eighteen year old V.Vinod of Christ College reached the polling booth quite early on Monday. He stood in the long queue at SS Wedding Hall on SV Patil Road braving the drizzle to cast his vote on SV Patil Road. “I am casting my vote for the first time,” he said.

However, he could not explain why it was important to cast his vote and who were contesting from the Raj Bhavan constituency.

Many first-time voters were ignorant of the candidates and political parties. An 18-year-old girl in Maducari said that she did not know who the candidates were. My father asked me to vote for ‘two leaves’ symbol. Rajeshwari, who is a 10th grade dropout, walked with her mother to the polling station. “I will listen to what my parents tell me. They have asked me to cast my vote for the ‘hand symbol’,” she said.

She added that they did not know what a representative could do for a constituency.

Sri Aurobindo’s followers who had settled down in Puducherry did not miss the opportunity to have their say in the formation of the new government.

Nineteen-year old Rajalaxmi Pradhan, studying in Ashram School, had come along with her mother to cast her vote at Calve College Government Higher Secondary School on Francois Martin Road in Kurusukuppam. Hailing from Orissa and ardent followers of Sri Aurobindo, her parents brought her to Puducherry 15 years ago to enrol her at the Ashram School. “I grew up in Puducherry and continue to study in the Ashram School. I am in the first year of my graduation studying foreign languages,” she said.

Auro Krishna, a native of Orissa, came to Puducherry 20 years ago. In the final year of her graduation, she is studying languages and psychology. “It is the responsibility of everyone to vote. Our future is dependent on the politicians whom we choose,” she said.

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Printable version | Mar 4, 2021 4:22:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/women-firsttime-voters-come-out-in-strength/article8609654.ece

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