In 2014, an estimated number of 120 million first-time voters, who were aged between 18-22 years old, were eligible to cast their votes. It was believed by many that they would have a great impact on the results of the election.
The youth population of India, which comprises around 34-40% of its total population, have become more involved in the political arena, particularly on the issues that concern them, including jobs and development. They sign up as volunteers for political parties, particularly for campaign matters. Previously, little notice was given to this particular sector of the Indian society; however, when they stood at the frontlines of some of the main civil society movements, the political parties were urged to give them attention. At present, they are using different media to make themselves heard, such campus meetings, social media and talking in crowded metro trains.
Due to the recognizable influence the youth may have on outcome of the elections, the political parties are prompted to attract the youth to vote in their favor. The political parties expressed concern on issues that matter to the youth sector including corruption, unemployment, representation in Parliament and the role the youth may play in politics.
The young voters have been recognized as an important factor for change. Thus, the need for the youth to be politically aware has been expressed as an important matter. It is essential that they understand their responsibility and make an educated choice. Similarly, political parties must present manifestos that are realistic and concrete in order to fully mobilize the youth, especially since the youth are increasingly becoming an educated generation. However, political parties are failing in this matter, according to political analysts. Their promises during campaigns remain unfulfilled. They fail to address the issues that concern the youth and have shown little effort to further do so.
The youth has played important roles in political movement and mobilizations that could be traced throughout India’s history, however, despite the so-called increase in their participation, they may remain as an invisible sector of the electorate. Aside from not having the political parties fully address their concerns, another dilemma has been recognized that may hinder the youth from fully participating in politics as a unified sector. Indian society hold multiple identities, aside from gender and age—caste, class, region and religion. This become a cause for their division, particularly between classes and castes. Gender and age identities, on the other hand, are weak among Indian voters.
But there remains certain issues which is greatly supported by the youth including electoral reforms and corruption issues in the Indian government.
Bearing in mind the rate of population growth, the youth will become the majority in the electorate in the future.
Ghia, U. (2014, March 31). Statistics show youth to play major role in 2014 elections. Retrieved from DNA India: http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-statistics-show-youth-to-play-major-role-in-2014-elections-1971300
Jindal, P. (2014, March 17). The Role of Youth in the forthcoming general elections 2014. Retrieved from Elections: http://www.elections.in/blog/role-of-the-youth-in-the-forthcoming-general-elections/
Kumar, S. (2014, March 19). The Limits of the Youth Vote in Indian Elections. Retrieved from Heinrich Boll Stiftung: http://www.boell.de/en/2014/03/19/limits-youth-vote-indian-elections
Pasricha, A. (2014, March 21). Indian Youth Increase Involvement in 2014 Polls. Retrieved from Voice of America: http://www.voanews.com/content/indias-youth-increase-involvement-in-2014-polls-/1876138.html
Link : India’s young voters impress Nepal’s poll officials (One World South Asia: 2014)
Link : India’s Youth in the World’s Biggest Election (The Asia Foundation: 2014)
Link : Statistics show Youth to Play Major Role in 2014 Elections (DNA India: 2014)
Link : Indian Youth Increase Involvement in 2014 Polls (Decoding the debutant voter: India Today Group-CVoter sets out to see what’s on young minds for 2014 Lok Sabha polls (India Today: 2013) of America: 2014)
LINK : Decoding the debutant voter: India Today Group-CVoter sets out to see what’s on young minds for 2014 Lok Sabha polls (India Today: 2013)
Link : The Limits of the Youth Vote in Indian Elections (Heinrich Boll Stiftung: 2014)
Link : The Role of Youth in the forthcoming general elections 2014 (Elections.in: 2014)