Hyderabad: For the 18-something voters who are voting for the first time across the State, it was an exciting Thursday, a day many would not forget. Their experience of being part of the democratic process, sense of responsibility and a feeling of “coming of age” was writ large on their faces as they waited for their turn in the polling station queues. Many of them wanted to be ‘early birds’ and made it to the polling booths in the first hour, while some came with their families, giving it a festive touch. Some of them were seen glancing at the indelible ink mark on their finger quite a few times, not without pride. The EVMs and VVPATs have been around for some time but for the first-time voters, it was a novel experience..
Telangana Today spoke to these youngsters across the State and here is what they had to say: A Likitha, an intermediate second year student, came with her mother to the polling station in Huzurabad Junior College to cast her maiden vote. “I am very happy that I can exercise my franchise today. I am pursuing my intermediate in Warangal but I came to Huzurabad only to cast my vote.” R Mounika, an MTech student studying in Hyderabad, said that she had waited eagerly for this day. “I got my voting rights a few years ago but could not cast my vote in the recent Assembly elections due to various reasons,” she said. Mounika’s friend, Soumya, pursuing her post-graduate in Huzurabad, says it was the responsibility of the youth to exercise their franchise and elect good leaders for a better future for the Constituency as well as the nation. The happy twosome went through the candidates list displayed at the polling booth before going in to cast their votes for the first time. Puli Ahkila, Station Ghanpur, Jangaon district: “I feel happy and privileged to get the right to vote. It must for everyone who crossed 18 years to register their names for the voting right and exercise their franchise for the strengthening of the democracy.” Gudiboina Anusha, Wardhannapet, Warangal Rural district: “I am happy I could cast my vote for the first time. It is important for every citizen to vote. The Election Commission is also taking several steps to improve the polling percentage.” Gadhe Sandeep, Tanedaripally village of Jangaon district: “For the first time, I have got the election photo identity card and cast my vote. It is indeed a privilege for any citizen. It is also important for the democratic system. Unfortunately, some voters are not showing much interest to cast their vote.” Nikhil Goud, (18), who was exercising his franchise for the first time, said that the right of voting to decide the fate of contesting candidates made him a responsible citizen. Goud, a B-Tech first-year student, has said that he would continue to vote without missing to enjoy the right that the Constitution of India given him. Divya (18), a degree student from Medak town, has cast her vote for the first time in her lifetime. Saying that she has been waiting to cast her first vote eagerly, the degree student has said she came very early to the polling station since she understood the importance of the vote. Sasha: “I and my sister Yamini recently acquired our Electors Photo Identity Card (EPIC) and this is the first time I am voting. I feel it is an important duty as a citizen to use my right to vote to elect the government we want. The arrangements are good.” Yamini: “This is the first time we are voting in an election. I along with my sister Sasha enrolled in voter’s list three months ago. We are motivated to cast our vote following voters’ awareness programmes in our college.” Nesha: “Voting in elections is an important duty for every citizen and I am happy to deliver my duty by casting my vote for the first time. Youth must make use of their right to vote to elect the government they want.” C Sai Sekhar, an engineering student: “It took me just 10 minutes to cast the vote. I am happy that I am part of the electoral process, and I am proud that I did my duty. The arrangements at the polling station were also good.” Gyara Sai Kumar, Gudiwada village in Bhongir Lok Sabha Constituency: “I will remember and cherish this day all my life. There was a tinge of excitement when I entered the polling booth for the first time. When I emerged from it, I felt I had done my duty as a responsible citizen of the country.”.