But their expectations are high. They want immediate solutions for unemployment, a promise to control prices rise and better living conditions.
The voters in the age group of 18-25 years expect parties to suggest constructive ideas to resolve their grievances rather than indulge in non-productive rhetoric and hate speeches.
According to the Election Commission of India’s revised electoral roll, there are close to nine lakh first time voters in the age group of 18-19 years across Tamil Nadu.
With a majority of the young voters being either a student or aspiring professional, the lack of job opportunities, particularly after the Covid-19 pandemic hit the globe, has been the topic of debate while weighing their options.
Most of the youths have prioritized employment generation for consideration. The urban youth are for employment and industrial development to prevent migration for jobs. For rural youths, livelihood of farmers and basic infrastructure in villages are high on their list.
“Around 80% of my classmates are still seeking jobs. Inflation that escalated my hostel fee is now taking a toll on my savings. My vote is for the party that focuses on employment generation,” said first-time voter S Diana of Cuddalore.
The agri policies of political parties besides their concern for women safety and religious harmony would be major considerations for youths when they walk up to the polling booths, they say. For some youths, party ideologies matter.
“The candidate will only serve as a worker of his party’s high command. So, I will vote for the party based on the leader’s ideology,” said A Kishore, a student from Salem.
So, young voters, who earlier opted for NOTA, are now toying with the idea of supporting relatively new parties, projecting them as alternatives to the Dravidian majors.
“Instead of NOTA, I would like to vote for a new entrant. We should give them an opportunity to understand their capabilities,” said Erode youth S Subash. For a few, NOTA is still an option.
“I am clear that I should not elect a wrong party or candidate. If none satisfies my expectation, it’s NOTA for me,” said V Reshma, a student from Manapparai.
Many young voters in rural areas are likely to be influenced by their families, said senior journalist Tharasu Shyam. The urban youths, however, say they will not let their parents influence their political preferences.