In April, Mint ran a series of profiles of six young first-time voters across India: Liberalization’s Children, youths who had known only the reforming Indian economy of the 1990s and 2000s. After the election, Mint caught up with them to ask them about the voting experience, and about what influenced their choices in the days leading up to the election
AMIT ROKADE, 18
I voted in Nallasopara, where I live, in a school near my house called Jyoti Hindi School. In fact, I had to work through the entire previous night, out on a shoot, and I only came back home late on the morning of the election. But I still went out at noon to vote. I don’t remember the candidates’ names very well now, but I remember that I had a choice between the Congress and the Shiv Sena. I voted (for) Congress. I’m not a very big supporter of the Shiv Sena; I tend to favour the Congress more.
As told to Samanth Subramanian
ROHIT CHAHAL, 19
Constituency: East Delhi
This was my first vote, and it felt great to be a part of the democratic process. I voted for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Only the BJP raises issues of national significance in India. They raised the Ram Mandir issue and are also defending the Hindutva faith. The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was unable to prevent terror attacks in India. Only the BJP is capable of taking decisive action. Also, lakhs of people have lost their jobs in the economic slowdown and the government has done little to create more jobs. The growing number of cases of farmer suicides is also an indication that the UPA government is not in control of the situation. (Among my friends) I tried to get as many votes as possible for the BJP.
As told to K.P. Narayana Kumar
ZENYA GARCIAS, 19
Constituency: Mumbai North-West
I voted, but I put in a no-vote. I wasn’t happy with anyone, and I was worried that in case I did not vote, someone else could have taken my vote for another party. I thought about it carefully. People told me I should vote for an independent candidate, but that didn’t make sense, in case they merged with a different party, which I didn’t want. It felt like going to get my driving licence done, you know? I will definitely vote again in the future, but I will be more attentive next time to see who is standing. Voting shows you have the right and that you are making use of it to vote.
As told to Neelam Verjee
PUNIT MUKHERJEE, 18
I had decided long ago that I am not going to queue up to cast my vote this time. So, election day was just like any other day for me. I just practised playing the guitar for a while and watched movies on television. The only good things about the elections are the empty roads, and the city looks more tranquil than (on) other days. Since it was a good day to hit the road with a car, and I intend to apply for my drivers’ licence soon, I requested our neighbour to give me a few driving lessons in his car. Many of my age feel a sense of pride in showing off the ink mark on their finger to signify that they have voted, but I believe that one can shape the future of the country by excelling in one’s field and contributing to the prosperity of the country. I am determined not to vote till a political leader with exemplary track record and sound ethics emerges on the scene.
As told to Aveek Datta
Constituency: Chennai South
Unfortunately, I did not manage to vote. It was only recently that I found where the office was where I could apply for my voter’s identification. My ward had changed, so I went to the wrong office first before finding the right one. And after that, because of being at college all day, I couldn’t get to the office to apply for the voter’s card. If I had, though, I think I would have gone with 49-0 (recording a no-vote), simply because I can’t think of a single candidate or party who appeals to me right now.
As told to Samanth Subramanian
N VIDYA, 22
Constituency: South Delhi
My exams got over on 6 May, so I woke up a little late and got ready to cast my vote. I did see a lot of young people in the long queue, in the age group of 20-30. I think the youth campaigns have worked and made voting the fashion statement of New Delhi. There was a long list of 10-12 candidates, but my mind was already made up. I voted for Congress candidate Ramesh Kumar, since I believe in secularism. This was a mutual family decision at the dinner table about two weeks ago. I was sad that there was no female candidate on the list. I will look out for Kumar and the Congress party if they win. The big issues will be providing citizens basic amenities and the security of the country.
As told to Malathi Nayak
Photographs by Madhu Kapparath / Mint, Ashesh Shah / Mint , Indranil Bhoumik / Mint and Sharp Image