By Mayank Jain:Â
The political arena in India is always heated up from one flame or another but this time it is the throne of Prime Minister and union government that is at stake in general elections due in May 2014. While the election commission is gearing up to ensure free and fair elections and an added right of expression for voters, called NOTA (None Of The Above) where they can reject all the candidates; political parties are scavenging for limelight.
They say there is no such thing as bad publicity but right now every party is paranoid about any negative publicity and huge sums of money are being spent on the image makeover of the top leaders. Lots of damage repair tasks are being carried out and the parties are making sure they appeal to the most relevant demographic of the country: the youth.
We make the majority of voters in the country and it is us, the young people who will determine the course of politics and economy in the next two decades as the educated youth population swells up. Political parties are well aware of the fact that attracting the youth is the most important task and if the young ones can be swayed, their families and peer groups will follow the pack as well. Here are some of the initiatives to attract youth by the major political parties of India:
BJP launches campus ambassador program:
BJP is the major opposition party of India and it has been sitting in the opposition for almost a decade now and this time the party is doing its best to score against the backdrop of corruption and lax governance under UPA rule. The party has launched BJYM Campus Ambassador Program (CAP) which seeks to motivate youth to generate awareness on voting as well as the party and the students will be asked to volunteer in driving Modi CafÃ©s, a youth leadership forum across India.Â The program is open for registration until 15th January, 2014 and the selected campus ambassadors will be announced on 17th January, 2014.
AAP’s National Registration Drive:
Aam Aadmi Party has emerged as a dark horse with unexpected win in Delhi and it is now aiming for Lok Sabha polls through building a network of strong, corruption free people all across the country. The party has launched an ambitious national recruitment drive with zero registration fee and it is accepting people from every part of the country.
The party aims to achieve the target of 10 million registrations by January 26th, 2014 and it is accepting nominations through five ways including text messages, missed calls to a toll free number, membership camps, offline forms or applyingÂ online through the website. The drive is said to be hugely popular among the youth and almost 15000 new registrations are happening daily.
“We have a target of [achieving] one crore [10 million] membership by January 26,” Kejriwal told the media also stating that 300,000 membership applications had been received online.
Congress Launches Youth Manifesto:
Rahul Gandhi, the scion of Congress who is the frontrunner for the Prime Ministerial candidature from the party has been spearheading the campaign to entice the youth and engage them in conversation.
The party organized a “Your voice, Our pledge” interaction for school students, college goers, doctors, engineers in a group of 200 at Bangalore. The interaction was aimed at seeking youth views on the manifesto of the party and he also promised to work on the suggestions as provided by the youth. The party has also been doing ‘youth yatras’ in Kerala where Mr. Gandhi also made an appearance on the roadshow.
#YouthManifesto trended for almost a day in the entire country on Twitter and people were giving mixed reactions to this move by Congress.
The road to elections is still far ahead in terms of the volatility that we have been noticing in public opinion. It is hard to pick favourites right now as most of the aces of each party are reserved for the end. It will be interesting to see how AAP responds to Congress’ and BJP’s experienced moves while BJP fights its nonsecular image and Congress deals with economy, budget, legislature and finally, elections. The race has just begun.