The wise and the ancient knew the power of the youth. They knew that the energy, passion and enthusiasm of the young blood can seldom be replicated by the rest. And so it seems do the men, who lead the two main national parties of our nation.
Hidden in the frenzy that accompanies the run-up to the LoK Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi, have a clear strategy of targetting the 4.85 crore new voters (18-19 year age group).
These first time voters are unpredictable, without any baggage (of partition or struggle for independence). Their loyalties either unknown, untested or both.
This generation, an overlap of Gen X and Z, is armed with more information, is more tech-savvy and not afraid to take a stand which is contrary to that of their peers or family. If we expand the bracket to 18-21, these voters have an established digital footprint and can act as influencers.
So, the politicians have upped their game by taking steps to ensure they garner a large chunk of the voters mindspace, influence the influencers and have them firmly on their side.
The BJP, for example, has been organising booth-level events for nav matdata (new voters) to convert them into life members. Congress has also expanded its social media outreach
Use the lingo of social media and leveraging the power of live broadcasts, hashtags and memes, the politicians are focused on the youth. Combined with the spread of 4G connectivity to rural India and cheaper smartphones, the 2019 LS battle is likely to be fought as much on phones as on the streets.
Then, it would not be incorrect to say that politicians have set their sights on the right target, at the right time and with the right medium. Moreover, those who fail to do so will lose a large, potentially very strong constituency – the youth.
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