First-time voters walked into polling booths to exercise their franchise in the Assembly election with enthusiasm in different parts of Tamil Nadu on Tuesday.
Many of these voters, between the ages of 18 and 23 years, said they followed the speeches of political leaders on social media forums, went through the election manifestos of different parties and had discussions on WhatsApp groups on the candidates in their zones.
Some of them said they would choose the ‘None of the Above’ (NOTA) option as they did not find any candidate up to the mark.
Nineteen-year-old Gautam Ravi, a B.Tech student, cast his vote at the Don Bosco school in Katpadi. “I have a strong political view and I have cast my vote accordingly,” he said.
Rajesh a first-time voter in Chennai, said it was unfair of the government to pass all students without conducting the examination due to the pandemic. “Think about the plight of the ones who study hard. Those who don’t study also got away,” the 20-year old boy said.
Jafflyn Joel, who cast her vote at the St. Joseph’s Higher Secondary School in Palayamkottai, said unemployment had to be handled in a better way, and employment should be given on the basis of education.
“The National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test [NEET] should be revamped in the best way. Considering these factors and other major issues going on, I cast my first vote today and I am looking forward to a better Tamil Nadu,” she said.
Afrah Fathima, from Palayamkottai, said, “Considering the hike in petrol price and agricultural issues, I cast my first vote despite the pandemic. I am hoping for a better government to be established after this election,” she added.
The first-time voting experience for 21-year-old R. Srinidhi went off smoothly at a polling booth at Thennur in the Tiruchi West constituency. A final year law student, Ms. Srinidhi said she was looking for “good governance” in the State.
K. Keerthana, a 21-year-old, said political parties were yet to focus on the needs of the youth. “There are thousands of youngsters without jobs across the State… We expect more from the new government,” she said.
(With inputs from Sangeetha Kandavel in Chennai, S. Ganesan and Kathelene Antony in Tiruchi, Vivek Narayanan in Vellore and P. Sudhakar in Tirunelveli)
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