First Time at Polls: Gen-Z Vote Can Set The Stage For Change

First Time at Polls: Gen-Z Vote Can Set The Stage For Change

First Time at Polls: Gen-Z Vote Can Set The Stage For Change

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Indian politics can evolve better to reflect the aspirations of its youth. with almost about 40% of eligible voters aged 18 to 19 registered to vote. Every vote counts but every Gen-Z vote counts the future of this country.

India’s youth are hesitant to participate in elections, largely due to a lack of understanding about political parties, their agendas, and an inherent need to stir away from interest in politics. Many who are aware of the surroundings around them are into the ‘Woke’ culture, where you are expected to show empathy towards those prey to ‘Propaganda’ and realise the depth of politics entrenched in the socio-economic scenario and the day-to-day lives of people in this country.

The education system is not equipped and has always failed students regarding the voting process, in terms of consequence and freedom, it is however taught conceptually. This leaves them disconnected and tethered away from the significance of their choices and affiliations.

The upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha elections highlight this issue, with almost 40% of eligible voters aged 18 to 19 registered to vote. Particularly low enrolment rates are observed in Delhi, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh, despite their large youth populations. Many young people feel disconnected from politicians and their agendas, lacking faith in the political process. The absence of guidance on real-world political systems leaves them uncertain about the impact of their votes. Much of the youth on the spectrum of unemployment as the largest plague affecting them give great importance to job security and financial stability.

There are certain misconceptions as well for example: voting for a particular party because the leader one prefers gets elected as the prime minister, whereas the Indian electoral system is designed in such a way that when voted for a particular party, the immediate candidate representing that party from the area or constituency one hails from, should be kept in mind. The implications of the party which wins are directly going to affect development and growth in your city. First-time voters and citizens need to be aware of the immediate consequence to them along with just voting based on who gets elected in the centre.

Another example would be voting for the option None of the Above (NOTA), recent trends on Instagram and ‘X’ have gained traction on this misconception being busted that, voting NOTA would result in no government being elected if it gains a majority, the possibility of that happening is highly unlikely in India’s political weather according to netizens. Though re-elections shall occur in this scenario, it shall be a replay of previous elections as the choices don’t change drastically. Hence, there is an encouragement to vote for some political party and representative to make your vote count rather than expressing disapproval through NOTA unless re-elections are what one desires. The internet is in a debate regarding the same.

India’s youth comprise a significant portion of the population, and their voices matter. Yet, without proper education and engagement, their potential influence remains untapped. Politicians often overlook young voters, failing to address issues like affordable education, employment generation, fair wages and healthcare, which are crucial to this demographic. Stereotypes portraying Gen Z as apathetic or, not privy to their policies, ignore their active engagement in social causes and their capacity to effect change. political leaders and parties should incorporate changes in policies and design manifestos which cater to the significant youth population which can change the outcome of elections in a jiffy! Social media here obviously plays the most pivotal role in shaping political discourse, as this Gen-Z population is tech-savvy to the level of it being an extra limb. Political parties adapt their communication to resonate with younger generations by using social media to engage younger demographics. For instance, the BJP released a song titled “Vote for GOAT” targeting first-time voters, while Congress leaders have embraced contemporary language on platforms like Instagram on their posts, with trending hashtags like #YOLO. Online platforms provide avenues for political engagement and mobilization.

With nearly 20 million Gen Z voters expected in 2024, their impact on Indian politics cannot be ignored. However, challenges such as online voting engaging a generation wary of physical crowds, and minor inconveniences need to be addressed. On the contrary, they consume vast amounts of information online, shaping their opinions and political choices. Introducing online voting could significantly increase their participation, given their digital fluency and could revolutionize the electoral process, making it more accessible and inclusive. In a digital age, patriotism may indeed find expression through a few clicks rather than physical presence at the polls. It’s essential to engage Gen Z by addressing issues relevant to them and utilizing platforms they frequent, like YouTube and Instagram.

Empowering Gen Z involves providing them with the necessary tools and information to make informed decisions. By understanding their concerns and leveraging their strengths, Indian politics can evolve to better reflect the aspirations of its youth. While they may be hesitant to engage physically, strong causes and charismatic leaders can motivate them to vote. They need to be able to differentiate between what is real and what is being fed to them.