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April 27, 2024

Varsity Students Eager to Vote in LS Polls, Believe It’s the Key to National Change

As the Lok Sabha (LS) polls draw near, first-time voters from higher education campuses across the city are expressing their determination to exercise their franchise. They believe that voting is crucial to addressing the real issues facing the student community and society at large, which would otherwise remain unaddressed.

Ritushree, a first-time voter from Presidency University in central Kolkata, is resolute about casting her vote. She emphasizes the need for a government free from religious exploitation and controversies surrounding educational institutions. Despite disillusionment with the political discourse, she believes in the transformative power of her vote.

“I believe my vote can bring about a change. I will reach the polling booth before the closing hours,” Ritushree told PTI.

Echoing similar sentiments, third-year Arts faculty student Kaustav Dey emphasizes the importance of safeguarding the autonomy of educational institutions amidst perceived interference by state and central authorities.

“Forget about bigger national and regional issues. If you look at the direction in which the education sector is moving, I feel we must do our bit by electing a representative who will bring about a change through which institutional autonomies are restored and student body elections are brought back to fight for the community’s issues,” Dey added.

Sayan Dutta, an SFI member, expresses dismay at the divisive campaigning and corruption plaguing the current political landscape. He advocates for responsible voting to counter these challenges, stating, “We often discuss the situation among ourselves. There is too much toxicity and negativity all around. If we don’t stand up to the situation, history will not forgive us.”

At Jadavpur University in the southern extent of the city, Joyadrita, a final year undergraduate student, stresses the importance of voting as a means to address societal polarisation and governmental failures, including corruption scandals and crimes against women.

“Even if we set aside the increasing polarisation in society for the time being, crimes against women, the chilling Sandeshkhali incidents, the ration and teachers’ recruitment scams have already given a bad name to the state,” she said.

Concerned over the employment scenario in the wake of the recruitment scandals, she added, “The future of students is at stake. I will soon start hunting for jobs. What kind of future do you think awaits us if jobs in the government sector are riddled with scams?”

Partha Pratim Roy, a senior professor at JU, underscores the collective anxiety among students regarding the nation’s direction and the state of educational institutions.

“Both the New Education Policy of the Centre and its state counterpart are aimed at corporatising the state-funded education sector and create obstacles for poor and meritorious students. They suffered on account of the prolonged impasse and run-ins between the Governor and the state government over academics and administration. As emotional youngsters, they want to make their voices heard through the EVMs,” Roy said.

In conclusion, the enthusiasm of the university students to vote in the LS polls underscores their belief that it is the key to addressing pressing societal issues and steering the nation towards positive change.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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