Exercising the constitutional right to choose our legislators is a valuable democratic privilege. And for first-time voters, it is a great experience. By exercising their vote, they feel they are a part of the democratic process. Post polling Tuesday, Orissa POST spoke to a few first-time voters to know more about their experience of exercising their franchise.
Baisali Parida was hoping for a transparent administration and more employment opportunities. She said, “I am pursuing a diploma in architecture. Being a responsible citizen, I reached the polling booth in the first hour. I was so excited about casting my vote that I spent a sleepless night thinking about it. When I finally got my finger inked, my happiness knew no bounds. I voted for a probable PM for the next five years because I think ultimately it depends largely on who the leader is and who administers the country efficiently. Family discussions on the political history of the constituency and the various issues highlighted by the media helped me make my choice.”
Manisha Priyadarshini, who is a second-year student of Government Polytechnic College, said, “It’s high time youth took their voting right seriously as only educated leaders can provide good governance. They can take the world’s biggest democracy to greater heights. A leader who treats all sections of the society equally should be voted to power. Keeping this in mind, I went to cast my vote for the first time. It was a wonderful feeling to be a part of the democratic process. After getting my finger inked, I felt proud.”
Rudraditya Panda, a government employee, said, “I had waited eagerly for this day. I got my voting rights a few years ago but have not cast my vote due to various reasons. But today I did not want to give it a miss. I went to the polling station at Government Boys’ High School in Bhubaneswar with my family at around 10.30 am. I went through the list of contestants displayed at the polling booth before casting my votes.”
He added that both the experience of seniors and the exuberance of the youth are required to run the country. “My vote was to help pick the best local representative for my constituency instead of voting indirectly for a Prime Minister candidate.”
Satyajit Baral, who is a businessman by profession, said, “I feel happy and privileged to have the right to vote. Everyone who has crossed 18 years should exercise his voting right to strengthen democracy. Earlier, I felt that voting was a waste of time. I considered all politicians as goons and corrupt people who only exploited the masses. That’s why I never voted. I did not have a voter identity card. A few days back, a conversation with a teacher made me realise the importance of voting. He told me: ‘If you cannot vote, you don’t have the right to shout at them. First, do your duty and then you will have the authority to say anything.’ His words motivated me to vote and choose my leaders. For the first time, I cast my vote. It is indeed a privilege for me as a citizen. It is also important for the success of the democratic system.”
BIJAY MANDAL, OP