High turnout in UP polls likely, youths enthusiastic to vote: ASSOCHAM

Lucknow : Uttar Pradesh is likely to register a healthy voter turnout in the assembly elections as a majority of youths plan to exercise their franchise, according to a survey conducted by industry body ASSOCHAM.

“Up to 60 per cent of young voters in the age group of 18 to 30, be it students or working professionals, are enthusiastic about exercising their franchise in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections,” it said.

The survey said “climate and environment, corruption, cost of living, crime and security, education, health care, housing, infrastructure, jobs, social welfare along with safety and security” are key election issues for young voters in the state.

“The efforts of the Election Commission and campaigns being run across different media platforms have significantly helped raise awareness about the importance of voting among youths,” ASSOCHAM Secretary General DS Rawat said.

Young voters, together as a group can make a serious impact on the outcome. But ensuring that they turnout in good numbers is a bigger factor, he said.

ASSOCHAM Social Development Foundation interacted with about 2,500 people aged 18 to 30 in the past one month in Agra, Aligarh, Allahabad, Chitrakoot, Faizabad, Gorakhpur, Kanpur, Lucknow, Meerut, Moradabad, Saharanpur and Varanasi.

The survey was aimed to gauge if the youth in the state is aware of their voting rights. Almost 60 per cent of the total representatives said they plan to use their democratic rights as many of them felt that “if you choose not to vote, you automatically waive your right to complain”.

Many said that elections help them connect with the news as “you follow politicians and key policy initiatives”. Some of them even felt it is essential that young people take advantage of their right to vote as it helps in creating a future that aligns with their fundamental beliefs thereby setting a precedent for future generations, it said.

The ASSOCHAM survey also highlighted that the youth in UP is politically active. The youngsters are cosmopolitan, liberal and hopeful and are not bogged down by negativity and cynicism of election campaigns.

Of the remaining 40 per cent, about 15 per cent respondents said they are undecided and have yet not made up their mind as to whether they will go for voting but they are surely keeping a track of elections through social media platforms.

While about 10 per cent said they do not think anything is going to change even if they vote as “all political parties are the same and that their vote will not make a difference”. About five per cent said they do not feel very strongly about elections as they are not aware about the issues and they do not have much at stake, the survey said.

While the remaining said they would rather treat the voting day as a holiday. Among other reasons that people gave for abstaining from participating in elections are lack of knowledge, not feeling represented by any of the parties or candidates, not being able to tell the parties apart and not feeling that their vote counts, it said.