This coming 2019 Lok Sabha will be the opportunity for estimated 8.1 crore first time voters in India. This voters didn’t cast their votes in 2014 Lok Sabha as they were under 18, making them illegible for voting in democracy.
First-time voters seem to be holding the keys to the rise and fall of political parties electoral destinies. However, in order to take advantage of this privileged position granted by the democracy of the country, the youth must show up and vote, to decide the fate of the Country as well as them.
Why just talk and listen the politics? It time to be a part of the same, many youths of the country think.
The Election Commission of India (ECI), in a first-of-its-kind initiative in 2017, collaborated with popular social media platform Facebook in order to start sending ‘voter registration reminder’ to eligible voters on the social media platform. The reminder was sent in 13 Indian languages, intended to lure first-time voters to the National Voter Service Portal which would provide them guidance through the registration process.
The ‘None of the Above’ (NOTA) option had been included in the Indian electoral system in 2013 to give voters an option to abstain from voting. The move also intended to increase the voter turnout, though there is not enough evidence to support that it succeeded and many believe that NOTA is just equivalent to not turning up for the elections.
In 2014, Gujarat tried to be the first state in India to make voting compulsory in local polls. The Gujarat high court stayed the law’s implementation after a lawyer filed a PIL, citing the violation of Article 19(1)(A) of the Constitution. Most found that the law was not only impractical and impossible to implement in a country like India, but also unconstitutional.
The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, also understood quite well, the crucial role of the youth of India in the coming elections and took to twitter to congratulate them.
I congratulate all those who will be voting for the first time in the 2019 Parliamentary polls.
Those born in the 21st century are now going to be voters and thus, they will play a role in shaping India's progress: PM @narendramodi in the Lok Sabha
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) February 7, 2019
Congress Mp, Shashi Tharoor was also seen praising the youth and saying that the future is safe.
Enjoyed an outstanding interaction w/ 20 first-time voters in the Tvm @Asianet studio. Meant to be for a half-hour show, the conversation went on for nearly an hour&a half & the youngsters had yet more questions when I ran out of time. With such bright youth, our future is safe! pic.twitter.com/J98vsyEd0R
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) February 9, 2019
It is estimated that in this Lok Sabha election, the youth may hold the key in as many as 282 seats across 29 states, where there could be more first-time voters than their respective winning margins in 2014, as revealed by The Indian Express.
Of the 282 Lok Sabha seats, 217 are from 12 major states — West Bengal (32 seats), Bihar (29), UP (24), Karnataka (20), Tamil Nadu (20), Rajasthan (17), Kerala (17), Jharkhand (13), Andhra Pradesh (12), Maharashtra (12), MP (11) and Assam (10) are some of the major states where the state average of new voters since 2014 is more than the winning margins from the last general election.
The analysis is based on new voters who crossed the age of 18 years i.e. the age in which one becomes eligible to vote, after the 2014 elections and were added during the subsequent annual summary revisions of electoral rolls.