S H B Shuvro

Just a few days to go before 11th national parliamentary polls, a ‘youth quake’ including a multitude of fresh voters is expected to flare up and hit the election to make the difference between victory and defeat. The 11th parliamentary polls are scheduled for December 30 and among a total of 10 crore 41 lakh voters, 2.30 crore are young voters.
Around 40 lakh young people reportedly have been enrolled in the existing number of voters. Hence, it is needless to say that young voters including the newly enrolled ones will play a crucial role in making victory and defeat in the upcoming national polls. Young voters must be aware of this fact as the direction of the country depends on the choices they make in this election.

Election is one of the key democratic processes through which people express their opinion on the way their country and communities are managed. The role of the youth in shaping the course of any democracy needs no emphasizing. Therefore, all enrolled young voters should cast their vote with utter consciousness in order to actively and explicitly participate in country’s democracy. A well-thought vote casting is not only important for the political parties but also it is the building block of the future development of a country.
The right to vote is not just a right enjoyed by every individual over the age of 18, it is also a responsibility to make an informed and responsible choice to bring to power the right candidate. Hence, before casting their votes every young voter should properly learn the country’s history of independence and the process of development so that they can make a perfect decision in choosing the candidates. As the country has witnessed tremendous development in the last 10 years of the present government, the young people should consider that aspect before casting their valuable vote.

Scholars believe that voting is the only form of participation in which each citizen has an equal say. By voting, youths have the same ability as others to exercise political decision. Moreover, universal participation in elections ensures the faithful representation of the popular will. Young people should vote to develop a habit of voting from the beginning of their mature age. They should not surrender the power to shape the fate of the country to older generations. They should not let other people decide for them.
Ahead of the election, the entire country has indulged in discussions about the candidates. Moreover, the nomination of a number of prominent media persons has occupied the topic of the discussions. Young people want honest, diligent and well-educated people to take the power. They want to elect candidates who are young and have the ability to work altruistically more for the country. In this regard, it is good to note that the recent developments in technology and freedom of media are allowing the young voters to form a fuller picture of the candidates which certainly will help the fresh voters choose their candidates.

It is good to note that the major political parties sought vote from the young voters focusing on their own political views respectively. In order to keep up the tempo of the development, AL President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has already sought vote for AL from the young generation calling them the biggest strength of the country. Highlighting the development projects, AL is persuading young people with slogans like “Power of the Youth is the Prosperity of Bangladesh” and “New Bangladesh for the Young Generation”, to vote for the party so that the party can continue their pertaining development projects.
On the other hand, BNP-led Jatiya Oikyafront drafted its electoral manifesto attaching importance to the young and female voters. In accordance with the draft manifesto, if BNP is voted to power, the party will implement the student and jobseekers’ demand on extension of age limit for entry into government jobs to 35 from existing 30. However, BNP leaders are desperate to regain its lost support of the voters as it was responsible for creating anarchy and chaos for several times has been harshly criticised for its role in country’s political sphere.
There has always been a perception amongst young people that voting will not change anything. There is also the misconception that politicians and political parties do not offer real choices. In this regard, young and new voters should bear in mind that young voters have always been a key player in the election history of Bangladesh. Now it is up to young fellows to whom they will cast their valuable vote. As the next general election is very crucial not only for the major political parties but also for the development of the country, all the young voters in the country should cast their vote consciously and we believe their valuable vote would be the bedrock of Digital Bangladesh.

S H B Shuvro is Editorial Assistant Bangladesh Post