(Vijay Chopra...The Times Of India, 2009)
The glint in their eyes is unmistakable. Excitement and expectations are writ large on their faces.
Meet the youngest brigade of voters in the city, all braced to make their debut in the electoral process. Imbued with an immense sense of responsibility, they are agog to press the button on voting machine to put India on the path of development and progress. Confident, articulate, and above all, conscious, these First Time Voters or FTV (as they call themselves), want to belie the notion that MTV generation saunters off when asked to discharge duties as responsible citizens.
20-year-old BPharma student Parkhi begins on a ‘regretful’ note. “When I became eligible for voting two years back, I was a bundle of joy. But as my voter card was not made I couldn’t vote in the assembly elections” she says. But, this time my card is ready and I’ll cast my vote, adds this debutante. Parkhi calls herself a motivated voter. “Campaigns urging people to cast votes really motivated me a lot. So much so that I too made such appeals through social networking sites and goaded my friends into using their franchise” she informs.
Akansha Adaval, another FTV, says a sense of responsibility has taken roots in her heart. “The onus is on me to choose a government which can take us ahead.” Regarding her choice of government, this BBA student says, “One which can deliver and not merely completes its term on false assurances. It should have the strength to stand against corruption and not become a part of it instead.” Akansha even has a message for her peers: “Youth should cast their vote, only then can they expect a change. We must act like awakened citizens.”
Similar views are echoed by Parth Prakhar, a BCom student of Lucknow University. With hope of a progressive India, Parth lends a word of wisdom. “I think voters should be judicious while casting their vote. Select a candidate who has a vision for the country and thinks beyond localized issues. He or she should be a true representative of India,” opines Parth.
However, there are some who are still confused with the political jamboree. They want to vote, but find no deserving candidate in the fray. 19-year-old Sachin has little expectations from the present lot. “We have seen various governments in UP yet the state of affairs has remained the same. They win the mandate on all sorts of assurances but in the end only serve their cause. What can one expect from such politicians,” he questions. “There should be an end to wastage of public money,” he says. Sachin even goes on to add that politics is not meant for the educated for they would find themselves alienated in the flock of corrupts.
Twin sisters, Nitasha and Sunanda, are yet to receive their voter identity cards. “We had applied well in time but haven’t got them yet. Hope we are not deprived of voting. See, this a system we live. All talks and no action,” they speak in one voice. Nitasha, a student of political science, wants to see younger leaders for she believes they have a vision which is now lacking in the elder generation of politicians.
Sunanda, however, is completely disappointed with the current species of Khadi-clad. Calling them “uninspiring”, Sunanda says they have messed up the entire country. “We are making fast strides in corruption but lagging behind on the path to progress. Worse, there seems little hope of any improvement.” However, disappointment aside both the sisters clarify that they definitely want to vote.
So what issues stir the FTV? “Terrorism, development and employment,” avers Parth. They all are univocal that time has come when political parties should rise above narrow planks and get down to some serious business. Problems galore in our country, so it’s time we see some concrete steps being taken, they say.
And, what about the “glorified” speeches which have become a hallmark of these elections. Parkhi denounces them vehemently. “Instead, of slamming each other, leaders should address real issues. This is not we expect from those who aspire to govern us,” she says. Akansha says, “The mud-slinging exercise will not take us any further. Besides, we know how leaders behave. Today, they are leveling all sorts of ALLEGATIONS and tomorrow we will hear them pledging bonhomie to each other.” “Lucknow is known for its mannerisms, hence we hope that our city should at least be represented by someone who can retain this demeanour,” opines Parth.
When Lucknow votes on April 30, one thing is sure that these voices, too, would count. It would not be easy for khadi clad to ignore them. Besides, they will have to toil hard to meet their expectations. For, this young brigade believes in action and not mere assurances.