Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

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Women voters line up at Sibilong Village under Tamei AC 52-85

Manipur’s First Time Voters Experience the 18th Lok Sabha Election 2024

“It’s not enough to just want change… You have to go and make a change by voting.”-Taylor Swift


India is the world largest democracy. It witnesses a significant event with every election cycle with the emergence of a new cohort of first-time voters. These young individuals, upon reaching the age of 18 years are granted the invaluable privilege and responsibility of participating in the democratic process according to Indian Constitution (61st Amendment, 1988). Their role in shaping the nation’s future cannot be overstated, as they bring fresh perspectives, enthusiasm and aspirations.

First time voters in India represent the vanguard of change and progress. Their entry into the political landscape injects vitality and dynamism into the democratic discourse. With their innate idealism and eagerness for transformation, they serve as catalysts for innovation and reform. Moreover, their diverse backgrounds and experiences enrich the political dialogue, broadening the scope of issues addressed and ensuring greater inclusivity in governance.

The youth constitute a formidable force for societal transformation. As first-time voters, they wield immense influence in shaping policies that directly impact their lives and future prospects. Their voting decisions reflect their aspirations for a more equitable and just society. By exercising their franchise judiciously, they can champion causes such as education reforms, employment generation, environmental sustainability and gender equality, thereby driving positive change at both local and national levels.

Participation in the electoral process is not merely a right but also a civic duty. First-time voters in India play a pivotal role in upholding the foundational principles of democracy –liberty, equality and fraternity. By casting their ballots, they affirm their commitment to the democratic ideals espoused by the Constitution of India.

On interacting with some new voters of the state, they have expressed their happiness and joy because they could able to franchise their first voting and be a part of national building activity in strengthening democracy. A newly enrolled 19 years old girl Hodam Lemthoi Chanu from Keishamthong Hodam Leirak in Imphal West, said that she was very excited exercising her first franchise. Before attaining her age of 18, she had a desire to choose the right person but now she is happy that she has the right to choose the responsible candidate who will work for the development of the state.

Another first voter Khangembam Rojina Devi, 18 years from Wangoo Heinoujam Leikai in Kakching district expressed her desire to bring peace and normalcy in Manipur. She is very happy that the Lok Sabha Election 2024 has given her a chance to choose the right candidate who can bring peace and make the state a corruption free state. She says that she has exercised her voting right to make the true meaning of democracy.

Wangmayum Abshana a resident of Oinam Sawombung in Imphal West district narrated that for the first time in her life, she is able to see the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) and press the voting button in this Lok Sabha Election 2024 in the first phase on April 19. She feels proud of herself to be a voter as she completes 18 years and got the right to choose the right person. “I really enjoyed gathering with friends in the queue on the day of the voting, that was a different taste and experience”, she says.

“I am very happy as I have the right to cast the vote for the first time. But at the same time, I feel very disappointed as people in politics play dirty games which are against the expectations of people. Sometimes, this makes my mind not to cast the vote. After thinking it deeply in my mind, I went to cast my vote. If I did not exercise my right also someone else will hiject my right” narrates by Haobijam Kabita Devi of Thanga Samukol Leikai of Bishnupur district. She also appeals to all the legislatures to make people feel the true meaning of democracy in the state.

In Manipur, the18th Lok Sabha election 2024 was held in two phases for two parliamentary seats on April 19 and 26. The total number of voters of the state is 20,26,623. Out of this, 9,79,678 are male, 10,46,706 are female and 239 are third gender. The youths play a pivotal role in Indian democracy. They come up with innovative ideas, fresh perspectives and energy for the nation. They often mobilize for change, advocate for issues they are passionate about, and drive social and political movements. Additionally, as future leaders, their engagement in the democratic process ensures a more inclusive and dynamic society. As responsible citizens we need to exercise our own voting right to make a stronger nation. Let’s all take pledge to come forward to bring a positive change to the nation.

Manipur’s first-time voters exercising their rights starting with the 18th Lok Sabha Election 2024 will have more responsibilities to take in next elections as part of the of Indian democratic process.

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