TRT World spoke with students from two influential universities in New Delhi, asking them about their electoral choices and to rate the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government.

Simran, 23

Student, Delhi University

"I think the [BJP] government has been great. Though some parts of it like the economic aspect has bloomed, it has been at the cost of something else. I also think things are more polarised now and right than before. So, on the whole, I don't think it has been great.

(Vijay Pandey / TRTWorld)

I think it will be tough for the BJP in this election but it will sail through. I don't know much about India's foreign policy, I am more concerned about the domestic policies here.

My concerns are largely environment, higher education and women’s safety, and in both parties' [BJP and Congress] manifestos, all these are accessory things and not centre-focussed.

To me voting is really confusing because it's like between just two strong parties without a third option. There are not many options.  Also, there are not many women candidates. So honestly, it's confusing, I don't know who to vote for."

Naveen, 22

Student, Delhi University

(Vijay Pandey / TRTWorld)

"I won't be telling you who I am voting for but I am satisfied with how the government is doing right now. At least we are getting to know the government is doing work. Call it the media power the BJP is investing in, but they are actually showing what they are doing right now. They are taking concrete steps concerning India. I am happy with this [BJP-led] government.

One issue I had with all governments is that they've been excluding the education sector and it’s a small fraction of GDP that's spent on education. I would like to see the next government that comes in to focus on education sector from ground level.

Regarding polarisation, I think the vast population is still influenced by that kind of politics. That's why if you are educated polarisation won't have that effect. They will do what they have to do to win elections. If they want to divide people on basis of religion they will do it. It's been happening for the last 70 years. So, it’s upon us to recognise what they are doing, stop them and tell them what issues we want them to focus on."

Shrishti, 21

Student, Jawaharlal Nehru University

(Vijay Pandey / TRTWorld)

"I will be voting for Aam Admi Party, which is currently ruling Delhi. I'm voting for a candidate that I really admire - Atishi. Her work in Delhi government, especially in the field of education, inspired me to favour her as a candidate. 

If I had to rate the BJP government I would give it negative. Negative out of ten. It has been horrible as far as minorities are concerned. It has degraded economic conditions, unemployment is at its highest. I don't think it has done anything positive that could be counted in its favour."

Utkarsh Singh, 22

Student, Delhi University

(Vijay Pandey / TRTWorld)

"Any government in India that has ruled has not done its 100 percent. BJP is better than Congress. It has done its 20 percent. We are expecting employment, education, increase in seats in many educational institutes, and safety and security of everyone in this country. 

I am voting for an independent candidate. In my city, Lucknow, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh is also contesting. I think the independent candidate is better than anyone. Also, I am not going to press NOTA. It's a worst option. There is no point in wasting your vote."

Shivam Singh 20

Student, Delhi University

(Vijay Pandey / TRTWorld)

"BJP rule in the last five years was better than what we say in the last 70 years. Congress' was silent government. They were not able to take decisions. Look at our positions - on China and other countries. It's true BJP didn't keep its promises made in its old manifesto. For example, on farmers and women’s issues. Constitution grants us many powers but in reality, you don't see it. I think I will vote for BJP. Congress is making alliances because it doesn't defeat BJP alone. I think it's wrong because then it will take us back to where we were."

Sagarika, 22

Student / Researcher (TISS – Mumbai)

(Vijay Pandey / TRTWorld)

"I don't need to rate the current government. For that just go back and take a quick look at its manifesto and where it stands right now. I also feel the atmosphere in the country has changed a lot from what it was last time. It would be very beneficial for everyone especially for the bhakts [hardcore Hindutva fans] to see.

Regarding voting, it's an important election for every citizen of the country. But I also feel it's difficult for students to vote. I have lots of friends who are posted in rural areas. For them to go back and vote is very difficult. It is a basic right, they couldn't exercise it."

Ashwariya, 23

Student, Delhi University

(Vijay Pandey / TRTWorld)

"This is an important election for me because this is going to decide the five years of my future in some way. So yes, I will be voting and this is going to be my first vote.

The strategy that Modi has put forward is very great regarding international politics and all. I won't comment on India politics which is where it's more Hindu religion inclined… RSS and BJP… that idea, but apart from that if you see how his politics has been outside [India] you can see where India is right now. Earlier the PM was good but then Modi has stepped up the game for international diplomacy and I give him that credit.

The pressure India put on Pakistan was unbelievable, unlike Congress government that was slow in reaction. Without saying anything they [Pakistan] returned our officer that went across the border. That was something very surprising. This wouldn't have happened 10 years back, he would have been killed. Modi's airstrike and the previous strikes are commendable."

Dhyan Prakash, 24

Student, JNU 


"This election is going to be a decisive election on how the youth will find this new scenario that is emerging. That, how the social fabric that has been disturbed in all five years will be retained in its original form, and how the communal harmony that existed will be present in its very spirit. 

The current BJP government has done well on certain issues like Swach Bharat Abhiyaan, but on many fronts, it failed to deliver its promises that it made in 2014. BJP promised to create two crore jobs each year. It promised 15 lakh rupees for every citizen. Its promise to double farmers' income also failed. This time BJP has promised same thing in its manifesto.

In this election, there have been more narratives stated in the campaigns. As we can see, the coalitions have been built against this BJP government, parties that fought against each other last time are coming together. It will alter election arithmetic, this time.

Modi came with a hope of new India in 2014. There was huge corruption against Congress… it set the agenda for Modi to come to power. Everyone had hopes from it, but those hopes were shattered.

We need some secular training and someone who sticks to secular promises must come to power this time."

Sushant, 23

Student, JNU

(Vijay Pandey / TRTWorld)

"Over the last five years we have seen how the government misused institutions. It's important to vote to stop this. In last five years, I don't think they [BJP] did something that should have been done. The promises they made should get them zero. For example; they promised two crore jobs every year and 15 lakh rupees in each citizen's account. Then, with demonetisation and GST, they destroyed the economy. They deserve zero for this. 

I am impressed that Congress is saying that it will give 72,000 rupees to every poor family. It could be the best thing to strengthen India. I think Congress is a good option. I am voting for it."

Source: TRT World