Article by P V Sindhu on Youth and Democracy

P V Sindhu
P V Sindhu

09 Mar, 2024


As the year 2024 unfolds, the democratic machinery gears up for one of its most significant events: the 18th Lok Sabha General Election. In this democratic spectacle, the participation of every eligible voter is crucial, but perhaps none more so than the youth. The youth constitute a significant portion of the population, bringing with them the unparalleled spirit of ‘Yuva Shakti’. Their engagement in the voting process holds the potential to shape the future of nations. Understanding the pivotal role of the youth in the electoral process is imperative as we march towards Election 2024.

Over the years, more and more of our young voters themselves are realising this, and youth participation in elections has been improving. This can be attributed to an increasing awareness among the youth about their role in shaping the political landscape as India inches towards the ‘Amrit Kaal’. However, given the strength of the young electorate in India, this participation can be increased much further. The election of 2024, presents an opportune moment for the youth to assert their influence and truly accept the mantle of the ‘Amrit Peedhi’.

In response to the imperative need for youth engagement in the electoral process, the Election Commission of India (ECI) took proactive measures to mobilise young and first-time voters for the 18th Lok Sabha Election in 2024. The ECI called upon the youth to cast their ballots in record numbers and be part of the 'Mera Pehla Vote Desh ke Liye' campaign. This initiative aims to instill a sense of civic duty and national pride among the burgeoning cohort of first-time voters, estimated to be nearly two crore strong.

This campaign builds upon the need to invest in civic education and create platforms for meaningful youth participation-widely recognised as essential steps towards fostering a culture of active citizenship and political engagement. This has helped the young voters campaign balloon into a ‘Jan Andolan’ movement.

A campaign becomes a peoples’ movement when it builds upon its goals and objectives, and resonates deeply across all segments of society, sparking widespread participation. 'Mera Pehla Vote Desh ke Liye’ gained momentum as more and more credible voices joined the call to action for our young voters.  Prime Minister Narendra In his 110th 'Mann ki Baat' address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called upon the youth of the country to actively participate in the democratic process. This is being followed by other figures, from cricketers, to cine artists, to social media influencers-all calling upon the youth to join in the movement. I am myself privileged to be a part of this campaign, realising the power of collective voice- not just as a citizen, but also as a woman.

Additionally, a stirring anthem encapsulating the essence of the 'Mera Pehla Vote Desh ke Liye' campaign was also released, designed to inspire the first time voters. Enthusiastic youngsters are sharing videos of singing the anthem at iconic locations and World Heritage Sites across the country, with some Padma Awardees releasing renditions of the anthem in multiple languages. 

The digital age has revolutionised the way information is disseminated and opinions formed. Social media platforms, online forums, and digital campaigns have emerged as powerful tools for mobilizing and galvanizing support, particularly among the youth. In recognition of this, the MyGov portal is hosting creative competitions for reel making, blog writing, quizzes, and an online voters pledge.

Whereas the online world is abuzz with the rousing calls of inspirational personalities, engagement with the youth and first time voters is also taking place in colleges and institutions of higher learning across the country. Students are coming together in celebratory ‘fests’ where they are taking voter pledges and participating in rallies, seminars, and creative competitions such as debates.

'Mera Pehla Vote Desh ke Liye’ has taken the form of a crowdsourced movement- becoming a collective effort, that inspires widespread participation and seeks to drive meaningful change on a larger scale. This cascading effect of growing participation builds upon a familiar feature of many campaigns and initiatives undertaken recently, including ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’, ‘Swachh Bharat’, COVID-19 awareness, and during the ‘Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra’.

When the people are connected to a cause, this can translate into widespread dividends for the whole nation. The 'GiveItUp' movement, launched in 2015, wherein the Prime Minister appealed to people to come forward and give-up their LPG subsidy, saw almost a crore households voluntarily give up subsidy within the first year itself. Similarly, empowering the youth to engage in politics will foster a sense of ownership and responsibility towards the democratic process, laying the foundation for a more inclusive and representative society.

In conclusion, the participation of the youth in the voting process for Election 2024 is not just desirable but imperative for the health and vitality of democracy. By empowering the youth to exercise their democratic rights, we can ensure a more inclusive, representative, and responsive political system. As we embark on this democratic journey, let us recognize the immense potential of this ‘Yuva Shakti’ to shape the destiny of our nation and forge a brighter future for generations to come.


PV Sindhu - Deputy collector - Government of Andhra Pradesh | LinkedIn

P V Sindhu is an ace Indian badminton player. 

Views expressed are personal