Delhi's young to vote for jobs, women's safety (Election Special)
The young in Delhi want jobs and are most likely to vote for a party that makes the city safe for women, treats all communities equally, curbs corruption and checks rising food prices.
Most of the educated in the capital in the age group of 18 to 25 IANS spoke to seem to have decided who they will support in the general election next month.
Each has his logic -- and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) comes on top of the straw poll.
First-time voter Anmol Gupta's vote goes to the party that takes social issues head on. He likes AAP as its members are educated and have been able to - in his view - clearly lay out their plans.
The first-year student at IIT Delhi isn't swayed by the Narendra Modi factor. "The Modi factor has dragged on for so long," Gupta told IANS. The young man wants more focus on education.
Anmol Gupta is one of the 23 million in the 18-19 age group across India who will vote for the first time. Every political party is chasing them.
Sonia Talwar, 22, a cost accountant trainee, and her friend Divya Gupta, 21, who is pursuing a bachelors degree, are both AAP followers. They often talk politics and exchange notes on Facebook.
"We need jobs. It's so difficult to get a government job nowadays," rues Talwar. She calls the Congress and the BJP corrupt and strongly feels that AAP is the need of the hour.
Divya Gupta, who also has a contractual job, will vote for AAP in Delhi's assembly polls but for the BJP in the Lok Sabha election "because (Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra) Modi can create jobs".
For engineer Faizal Malik, 24, voting isn't about jobs or fighting corruption alone. He might vote for the Congress or AAP but "never" for the BJP.
"I am not saying corruption is not a big issue. But I can never forgive Modi for 2002 (Gujarat riots). I want peace and harmony and I am not sure the BJP can provide that," Malik tells IANS.
Adnan Hussain, a 22-year-old engineering student at the Jamia Millia Islamia university here, too feels strongly that the BJP is not supportive of the Muslim community. "They hate people of all other communities."
The biggest concern for Manikant Ojha, 25, a graduate who earns about Rs.14,000 a month, is food prices. He has backed the Congress earlier, but might now vote for the BJP over its pledge to ensure price stability.
Safety of women is a big issue for Taruna, 31, a recruitment officer in a telecom company.
She told IANS that AAP leader and former Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal can deliver. "He was the only one who shook up the government."
Mohammed Imran, 24, runs a battery-operated auto-rickshaw. The conduct of candidates towards Muslims is the primary issue for him. His family has voted for the Congress for years but now wants a change.
"BJP leaders try to humiliate us (Muslims). They try to create a divide between Muslims and Hindus. We are all human beings after all," Imran told IANS. He didn't reveal his choice.
The owner of a small shop, Mohit Kumar, 24, made Delhi his home about eight years ago. He voiced concern about women's safety. "We read how Modi has made Gujarat safe for women," he says, indicating his choice.
Some of the young from the poorer sections will return to Bihar and Uttar Pradesh to vote.
An ice cream vendor came out in support of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. And a roadside worker rooted for the Samajwadi Party.
Interestingly, the pro-Modi young indicated they were for the BJP because of Modi, not the other way round.
At the other end, the AAP supporters were not influenced by criticism that Kejriwal and his team lack the experience to govern.
Said Talwar: "We also take time to learn. So shouldn't AAP be given time?"
(Priyanka can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Posted on 14-03-2014)