Lok Sabha Elections 2024: First-Time Voters Speak What They Want From The Nation's Leader

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: First-Time Voters Speak What They Want From The Nation's Leader

Unveiling the hopes of India’s rapidly growing electorate as they step into the polling booths for the first time

Neha SinghUpdated: Sunday, April 28, 2024, 01:14 PM IST
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We’ve all been inundated with news of the ongoing general elections. It is one of the world’s largest democratic exercises. With a staggering 969 million eligible voters set to cast their ballots over a six week period, the spotlight shines particularly bright on the 1.8 crore first-time voters.

We always hear from people that the government should do this or that. In a nation brimming with diverse perspectives and aspirations, The Free Press Journal set out to hear directly from these new voters. What are they seeking in their leaders? Are they eager to exercise their franchise? What change do they envision post-election, and do they believe their vote holds weight?

Ankita Tiwary, 22, a student and first-time voter, expresses, "What I am looking for in a leader is equality, which somewhere our current government fails to offer. A country shouldn’t be divided on the basis of class, creed, or religion. I want a leader who respects our constitution and does not disrespect its basic principles.”

Some want equality, and some want employment. The list is ongoing, and why not? After all, we have the power to elect the party who will have power to change the nation. Rumpa Ghatak, 22, an engineer, emphasises, “Often this generation of first-time voters will look for candidates that will mirror their values, push priority agendas like education, environment, and social justice, and are responsive and trustworthy.”

She believes that most first-time voters will think carefully about whom they are casting their vote. She explains, “For plenty of them, it is their first ever chance to make their voices heard. Hopefully, the issues of healthcare, economic equality, and environmental protection will be at the top of the list of challenges to be dealt with. People should recognize that every vote is important, consequently thinking that their voice is heard in shaping the future of their country.”

For Divya Rai, a 23-year old freelancer, employment takes center stage. “Amidst the noise of religious and power politics, my primary concern is job opportunities for the youth. The government must focus on generating employment avenues. I have read the manifestos of the parties and am still thinking about which one I should vote for," she asserts.

There are many people who cast their vote without thinking twice, and on the other side, there are many first-time voters who are thinking carefully and believe in democracy. Rohan Sharma, 22, urges all the people to vote. He mentions, “I believe in voting. Every vote counts and matters. I want to say, please vote. After all, the first important step is to show up and vote. Your vote is your opinion, and it is your right to express it.”

Ankita feels like trying to vote. “I am going to vote with the belief that every vote counts and every vote matters; regardless of the rumours that EVM machines are tampering, I am still going to try,” she affirms.

So before complaining about our nations' circumstances, let’s ensure our voices are heard at the ballot box. We have the power now to bring about change and development through votes. After all, it is an opportunity to shape our nation’s destiny.

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