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Politics of old holds no charm for new-age female voters. Their mandate is that old horse should cool their heels so young blood may get into more leadership role.The girls of Lucknow’s 130-years-old Isabella Thoburn College — the first Christian institution for women in Asia—have made up their mind as to whom they are going to vote for in assembly elections. The candidate of their choice has to be the one with whom they can identify and share their aspirations. They candidly expressed their views at an interactive session when Hindustan Times organised ‘Campus Adda’ in their college portals recently. HT Campus Adda was an opportunity for the girls to unwind themselves and share their opinion on a wide range of issues.IT College has produced renowned authors such as late Ismat Chugtai and late Qurtul-ain-Haider. The list of old students include names such as Vijayaraje Scindia of royal family, Padmashri Dr Mohini Giri, first chairperson of National Commission for Women in India, Mumtaz Jahan Haider, founder principal of Women’s College in Aligarh and many more.
The new-age voters are fed up with old-style politics centred on narrow considerations of caste and community. They rooted for the young and pro-development leadership, instead of old politicians.The students said they found it easier to relate to young leaders and felt the latter (young leaders) should get more tickets. “Old leaders should take a backseat and let the youngsters come forward. The seniors may mentor young politicians and help them make the right decisions,” said Shraddha, an undergraduate student of the college.“It is time for veterans to step aside and make way for smart, new generation of leaders on the block,” she said.“Times have changed. So has technology. Experience should not be the only criteria to decide as to who is fit to run the government. Politics is no rocket science. We are sure that given a chance the generation next leaders can do a better job than most of our experienced politicians,” Shradhha remarked.Safety of girls“Harassment of girls continues in the society despite schemes like Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao. The candidate who can guarantee the safety of women and respect women must be elected,” Shagufta Qadri, a B Com student, said.
A student expressing her views during HT Campus Adda at Isabella Thoburn College. (HT Photo)
“The state must ensure self-defence training to girls and the subject should be included in the curriculum,” she suggested.Sushmita Pandey, a graduation student, said politicians should be trained as to what they should say about girls. “They must be taught to respect women. The politicians must be sensitive while speaking on women’s issues in public. The negative attitude of some leaders encourages rapists and criminals,” she remarked.Phalguni and Soumya talked about women empowerment and the need to increase their political representation. Politicians like Mayawati, Smriti Irani, late J Jayalalithaa and Mamata Banerjee had proven this, they said.Akhilesh is hot favouriteDespite the family feud, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav remained a hot favourite with girls but they were also happy with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and gave a big thumbs up to demonetisation.“We admire PM Modi and his pro-poor policies. He took some bold decisions to strengthen the country’s economy. The steps included note ban, limiting withdrawal of money and many others. But Modi will not contest the poll in UP. In fact, the BJP has not declared its chief ministerial candidate yet. In this scenario, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav is an obvious choice for many of us,” said Niharika Rai, another undergraduate student.The young voters are against reservation. Though the government may provide numerous facilities to the poor, only deserving candidates should get jobs, they said.“It hurts when an undeserving candidate gets a job. There should be no compromise on merit or else development will take a backseat,” a student said.“Give jobs to the deserving ones. Why do we need to reserve seats for the weaker sections? The government should try providing the best facilities to them so that they can compete well,” suggested another undergraduate student. The girls demanded a state quota like the one in Maharashtra.The girls said the youth felt cut off from the whole electoral process as political parties or their candidates hardly involved them in any poll-related activities.“Why is politics a different world to the youth? Why are they not interested in becoming a part of it? It is because the youth are not involved,” said Sadaf Ayub, an undergraduate student.Ayub hit out at the political parties for not holding any interactive session with the youth.“It is perhaps the sole reason why youths are less interested in joining politics. I have not seen any interactive session with youths, which can motivate them to join politics,” she added.A few other students said it was time for the parties and their candidates to shed the age-old caste and religion politics.They should focus more on ‘youth politics’ for smarter nation-building, they said.
End reservation. Give jobs to deserving people irrespective of their financial status or age.Better opportunities and colleges for higher education are needed in the state. There must be a public poll for all major decisions taken in the state assembly.Ensure equitable distribution of resources to all, irrespective of their caste and background.Division of UP must not be promoted. Regionalism should not be practised.Women’s issues must be dealt with adequate care and attention.