With the academic year coming to an end, many students have come forward to take part in the country’s biggest election exercise this time.
They are campaigning for votes not in the traditional door-to-door manner, but on social networking sites, sending video messages, tweets, propaganda posters and other highly influential posts.
Many of them are prepared to dedicate their time and service for various causes, especially social concerns. “We don’t force them to take part in election campaigns,” Manjunatha H S, who is in charge of student volunteers’ campaigning for BJP in Bangalore Central constituency, says.
Understanding the kind of support students can lend in creating awareness, influencing change and ability to persuade people are some of the requisite parties look for, says Manjunath.
“We urge our student volunteers to support our party by persuading their fellow students and parents to vote for us,” he adds.
Mannan, a volunteer from Central College, said, “I support this party because I believe in its ideals. My interest stems out of beliefs and social concerns, to be a responsible citizen and help the student fraternity as well.”
Most parties have mobilised youngsters between the age of 18 and 22 years and this has been effectively done through the student wings of the respective parties.
The student wing of BJP, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), which carries out its campaigning activities, aims at getting the maximum votes. “The city has been divided into four zones. We have around 100 students helping with the campaigning. But overall, we have about 250-300 active members in Bangalore. They all volunteer out of their own free will,” says Santosh Reddy of ABVP.
The National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) claims to have 60,000 volunteers across the State. “Our student volunteers are mobilised from colleges in the districts. Our target areas are malls, parks, roads, colleges, big road circles where the volunteers go in small groups and inform passersby about the aims and programmes of the Congress party. We make sure not to disturb people by using loudspeakers and blaring autos and also no door to door campaigning either,” says NSUI State President S V Sidveer.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has a subtle approach, running the show with the help of any student who is willing to volunteer. With wide spread support, especially from the youths, who love their anti-corruption stance and sharing responsibilities with the general public, the party has seen an inflow of student volunteers..
“We don’t have to motivate them. They come on their own in their spare time. Our student volunteers are faithful soldiers in our endeavour to gain support of the people,” Humayn Sait, an AAP volunteer, says.