India is world’s largest democracy owing to the sheer size of its electorate. In the last general elections held in 2014, over 81 crore people were expected to cast ballots and at least 20 per cent of them were eligible to vote for the first time. Sadly, only half of these youth voters exercised their franchise. Free and fair elections are the backbone of any democracy, and therefore, it is important that everyone who’s eligible marks their ballot. Voting is a right, a responsibility, and a privilege.
Here are some good reasons why the youth should vote and be proud participants in the democratic process.
A lot of young voters aren’t sure if their single vote would make any difference. However, each and every vote is decisive and has the power to impact the end result. Every vote cast makes a difference and every voter who marks his ballot plays a part in sustaining and bolstering democracy. There have been several instances in the electoral history of India where one vote was enough to turn the tables. In 1999, the 13-month-old government led by the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee fell after it lost the motion of confidence in the lower house of the parliament by just one vote. A more recent example where a single vote made all the difference was during the 2008 assembly elections in Rajasthan when senior Congress leader CP Joshi lost to Kalyan Singh Chauhan of BJP by a count of 62,216 to 62,215 votes.
A well-considered vote acts as an agent of change in a society plagued by a plethora of challenges. It is the duty of every citizen that he educates himself and others about the contemporary issues and also analyses what each candidate has to offer. The votes we cast go a long way in designing and formulating policies on issues that affect our day-to-day lives. A non-performing government or incompetent representatives cannot be shown door if voters shirk their responsibility.
Criticising government and its policies especially on social media is the favourite pastime of many youngsters. However, if you skip your vote, you really don’t deserve the right to criticise or praise your government. You can’t have an opinion on what others chose because you didn’t participate in the process of electing your representative or the government. By not exercising your right to vote, you are simply giving up the chance of having a say in the political process.
Despite all its follies and limitations, democracy remains the best available and the most successful form of government in the contemporary world. In order to keep it alive and functioning, the citizens must participate in elections that form the lifeblood of any democracy. By not exercising their franchise, the citizens inadvertently play a role in jeopardising democracy.
India attained independence in 1947 following a tough and long drawn struggle involving the sacrifices of our gallant freedom fighters. Those valiant men and women laid down their lives so that their future generations could live freely, without any foreign domination. The right to vote, therefore, becomes not only a responsibility towards the nation, but also a means to honour our past struggles. Remember, voting is a right denied to many across the globe.
‘None of the Above’ or NOTA is a ballot option in electronic voting machines that allows voters to register their disapproval of all the candidates contesting polls. The option, if used by every disgruntled voter instead of staying home and deciding not to vote, could pave a way in the cleansing of political system as more and more political parties would feel the pressure to nominate only deserving and clean candidates. The option allows voters to participate in the election process without selecting any contestant.
Content Sources http://www.indianyouth.net/6-reasons-youth-vote/