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What's Stopping Young Voters From Casting Their Votes In The Lok Sabha Polls?

Here's why some of our young voters are not being able to vote.

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India is a young nation with 50 per cent of its population below the age of 25 years, as per UNFPA. So it does not come as a surprise that the youth have a significant sway in the 2024 general elections. However, that would only be possible if they decide to vote or, in fact, have the inclination to.

The Election Commission of India released data stating that less than 40 per cent of voters between the age of 18 and 19 have registered for the 2024 elections across India. The lowest rates of enrolment are in Delhi, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. 

This may set alarm bells ringing for many, especially when the younger generation form a large part of the demographic who have previously played a central role in the previous two Lok Sabha elections. 

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During the 2019 general elections, the BJP’s share among young voters was 41 per cent, which was 7 per cent higher than that of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, as per a story by Vibha Attri. This section of voters, thereby, clearly played a pivotal role in BJP’s victory. 

What's more? The party not only managed to retain their votes, but also expanded its support among them by 4 per cent in 2019.

The ECI, as per a report by Deccan Herald, stated that the youth, especially those from urban areas, are less interested in the elections. Internal migration, where youngsters have moved out of their hometowns, was identified as a key cause for the lack of voter turnout. 

The Quint spoke to some registered and non-registered young voters, aged between 18 to 27, about their disinterest in vote. Many young voters cited internal migration as a leading cause, but there was a general sense of discontent about the key political parties in this year's Lok Sabha Polls as well.

19-year-old Suhrita, who is currently studying in law school, said that she isn't interested in voting because she is completely disillusioned by the system of governance.

Here's why some of our young voters are not being able to vote.

Lack of accountability by the parties was another major reason for this generation losing interest in voting. Chandrima, (20) talks about the disparity between the ambitious promises made during elections by the political parties and the reality of experiences post-election, where nothing materializes.

Here's why some of our young voters are not being able to vote.

However, young voters are willing to support those who have brought in tangible change. Anwesha (23) states that the Chief Minister of Orissa Naveen Patnaik has done good work and she does not mind going out of her way to vote for him. But she adds that that she hasn't witnessed the culture of voting in her family thereby does not feel inclined to vote.

Mayank (21) feels that no matter which party comes to power, nobody is going to help the general public. He feels that way especially when it comes to the education system. As a student of engineering, currently in Pune, he feels that the curriculum for courses like engineering, are outdated.

Adding, "In the end, rather than working on our skill empowerment, the leaders who are meant to help us only fill their pockets and India remains a developing country."

Here's why some of our young voters are not being able to vote.

Drusti (23), on the other hand, has witnessed how the population in the rural areas get swayed by those in power when they offer them money. The realisation that so many people vote under pressure due to monetary influence leads her to believe that there isn't any point to this when the majority is blatantly manipulated.

Here's why some of our young voters are not being able to vote.

Lack of awareness regarding, a voter's ability to change their constituency, in case of shifted residence could also be concluded as a leading cause.

Rithikka, an 18-year-old from Assam currently residing in Maharashtra says that she did not want to change her constituency to another state considering she knows more about Assam than her temporary residence in Maharashtra.

Here's why some of our young voters are not being able to vote.

Adit, (21) who is a student at an engineering college simply does not have the time to register and vote.

Here's why some of our young voters are not being able to vote.

Shanu, aged 22, feels that a lack of youth representation is the primary reason for her unwillingness to vote. She emphasises that if the government understood the problems faced by the younger generation, especially concerning issues like suicide due to educational pressure, she would actively engage in politics and vote. In this case, gerontocracy is her major reason for not voting.

Here's why some of our young voters are not being able to vote.

Oishik (20) said he does not believe in supporting a party. Remaining apolitical is key for him to build his business and thereby primarily holding opinions on government policies rather than political parties serves him well.

Here's why some of our young voters are not being able to vote.

Atrooba (27), who is from Kashmir currently residing in Delhi, also feels an underlining sense of discontent with both the opposition and the ruling party. She shares, "The ruling party claims that one of their biggest achievements is that people in Kashmir are not terrified because they participate in rallies for Independence Day etc. after the removal of Article 370. But I know exactly how this is happening."

"For instance, while rallies in Kashmir may portray the ruling party as enjoying popular support, I have personally witnessed instances where attendance is coerced through threats of job loss. Conversely, the opposition appears lacking in competence." she adds.

Here's why some of our young voters are not being able to vote.

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