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Mumbai's first-time voters seek to make "indelible" mark


Press Trust of India Mumbai
A large number of first-time voters came out to cast their ballots Monday in Mumbai, marking their formal participation in choosing the next government in the world's largest democracy.
According to the Election Commission (EC) data, Maharashtra has over 1.19 crore voters who fall in the age group of 18-19 years and are eligible to exercise their franchise in the Lok Sabha polls for the first time.
Enthusiasm was palpable among first-time electors, who openly expressed their views about candidates in the fray and whom they voted for.
Ninad Tendulkar (18), who cast his vote in Dindoshi, which falls under the Mumbai North-West parliamentary constituency, said he had voted keeping in mind issues like good governance and development.
"The Congress-led opposition is not strong and convincing. The opposition party is contesting the lowest number of seats ever.
"I felt there is no harm is giving the BJP-led NDA another chance," he said.
Tendulkar came across as an informed citizen, who is well aware of issues facing the country.
The teenager said he disapproves of many things that have happened during the five years like mob lynching. Similarly, Tendulkar doesn't agree with government critics being dubbed as "anti-nationals".
"You can counter criticism with facts. Less number of jobs are being created in the country but due to some government schemes like Mudra (under which loans are given to micro and small enterprises), people have become employment givers," he said.
Tendulkar praised the Modi government for taking a tough stand on cross-border terrorism.
Since it is a majority government, it could retaliate against terror, he said, apparently referring to surgical strikes.
"This has given strength to the armed forces," the teenager said.
Samruddhi Purav (19), who cast her vote for the first time in suburban Borivali under the Mumbai North Lok Sabha seat, said NOTA (None of the Above) option was discussed much in her friend circle.
"I read and watch all news and discuss them with my family members and friends. But I make my own decision. I voted for a young leadership.
"Everyone deserves a chance. I made my decision after hearing all speeches given by Raj Thackeray (the MNS chief who has been urging people to vote against BJP-Shiv Sena candidates)," she said.
Purav said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's campaign was "irritating and overbearing".
It is like forcing you to vote for him. If you have work to show, then you don't need over the top campaigning. Those who work less, campaign hard, she said.
Divya Khadpe (18), who voted in suburban Goregaon under the Mumbai North-West seat, said she was excited to cast her vote for the first time.
"I felt like a responsible citizen who is taking part in the democratic process. There was also nervousness that I will be choosing the next government," she said.
"More than party, I chose a good candidate who worked in the constituency...who had time to hear out people and their grievances.
"I recently attended a meeting of sitting MP Gajanan Kirtikar (of the Shiv Sena) and heard him speak about his work. I came home and discussed with my father to check whether he was speaking the truth," Khadpe said.
She said she was impressed with the work done by government under Modi's leadership and felt giving him a second term will do the country good.
Kimaya Nadkarni (21), who cast her vote in Chembur, which is part of the South Central parliamentary constituency, said, said she cast her ballot after taking into account several factors.
"As a first-time voter, I have voted for the candidate who is most active in my area, interacts with colony people, understands their problems and carried out many development projects in the past.
"So I felt he deserves my vote and have voted accordingly. My decision was based on my own thoughts and observations," Nadkarni said.
Of the total 8,73,29,910 voters in the state, 1,19,95,027 are in the 18-19 age group, as per the EC data.
Six Lok Sabha constituencies in Mumbai are among the 17 seats in the state which voted in the fourth and final phase of polling Monday.
Maharashtra has 48 Lok Sabha seats, the second highest in the country, where polling was held in four phases on April 11, 18, 23 and 29.

Disclaimer: No Business Standard Journalist was involved in creation of this content

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First Published: Apr 29 2019 | 6:05 PM IST

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