BALASORE: The increasing number of crimes against women, lawlessness in the State and corruption charges against the BJD Government notwithstanding, the clean sweep of the ruling party in the Panchayat elections has left many surprised.
What surprised the pollsters even more is the huge turnout of young voters who probably voted in favour of the ruling party. The pundits feel the young voters, including first-timers, were clearly the driving force behind the BJD’s victory. A significant turnout of young voters, including girls, was reported from several booths.
“They seemed to have compared the present BJD dispensation with the Congress government of 80s. Industrialisation and huge employment opportunities also are other reasons behind the wave,” they observed.
There are 2.91 crore electorate in the State, one-third of them are in the age group of 18-40. Prior to the Panchayat polls as many as 13.26 lakh new voters in the age group of 18-25 were enrolled in the fresh list.
While long queues of young voters were witnessed at most polling booths, the excitement and buzz of participating in the election process was also evident among the first-timers. “The onus of casting vote was on me and there was no family or political pressure to vote in favour of any particular candidate. My vote was in favour of the ruling party which brought about development in our locality,” a voter from Patrapada here said.
BJD leaders also believed that the young voters played a crucial and decisive role in the elections. The party this time, in fact, focused on the first-timers, the young and the not-so-young voters. A senior BJD leader said 18-year-olds and those below 30 years do not remember a Congress government. They only know the BJD stint.
The huge participation of younger electorate has gone on to depict the success of the ‘Greater Participation for Stronger Democracy’, organised by the Chief Electoral Office in association with civil society and academic institutions across the State.