Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his main challenger Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday raised toasts to young and first-time voters in the third round of polling in Indian parliamentary elections. The two leaders reached out to the first-time voters as today’s polling to 115 constituencies constituted the largest single phase in the seven-phased national elections whose last round of polling is scheduled for May 19. The vote-count will be taken up on May 23 and the results are expected to be declared the same day.
Soon after casting his vote in his home state of Gujarat, Modi welcomed the active participation of young voters, born in the 21st century, who are exercising their franchise for the first time in the polls and conveyed his best wishes to them. "This entire century belongs to those who are voting for the first time. They have to vote for the bright future of this century. Therefore, I would especially urge the new voters to commit to hundred per cent voting," Modi said.
For his part, Rahul expressed confidence that millions of youngsters stepping out to vote want 'Nyay' (justice) for every Indian and will cast their ballot wisely. "Across India, millions of youngsters are stepping out to vote, many of them for the first time. In their hands lies the future of India," Rahul said in a twitter post adding "I'm confident that they want NYAY for every Indian and will vote wisely." He also tagged a short video of the Congress' 'Ab hoga Nyay' theme focusing on youngsters.
The Congress had on April 8 announced 'Ab Hoga Nyay' as its battle cry for the parliamentary polls and launched a campaign centred around the theme of social justice while alluding to the party's proposed minimum income scheme of Rs 72,000 annually for the poorest and the 'anyay' (injustice) "prevailing under the BJP rule".
Joining Rahul in toasting the first-time voters was his party colleague and Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala who tweeted "for the bright future of the youth, for the progress of the farmers, for profit of small businesses, for rights of the deprived, do cast your vote because 'ab hoga nyay' (justice will now be done)."