With the General Elections just around the corner, MTVhosted interactive sessions for students and first time voters as part of MTV Rock The Vote, a pan India initiative that encourages the youth to exercise the power of their votes.
One of the two panel discussions witnessed three politicians from leading political parties in the line of fire. On the panel was ShainaNC representing the BJP, Meera Sanyal from AAP and Sanjay Jha from Congress.
The session was moderated by Dhiraj Nayyar, CEO, Think India Foundation andEditor, Firstpost.
Nayyar began by asking the politicians for one reason each whythe youth, the largest section of first time voters in this election, shouldgo out and vote. Shaina simply stated, "You cannot criticise or question ifyou do not vote." Sanyal addressed the youth and said, "If you think yourvote counts for something, only then go out and vote." Jha followed with,"The nation and the entire world await the results ofthe elections because India constitutes 16 per cent of theworld's population and that is not a small number. You are not onlycontrolling the 'idea of India' but the future of India."
The discussion also covered topics such aswomen's safety and anti-corruption. There was a moment when AAP's Sanyal satin the middle as Shaina and Jha pointed fingers, arguing and counter arguing,while Sanyal cleared severalmisconceptions and rumours about her party's run in Delhi.
Nayyar asked them what made them quit their respective professional lives andjoin politics to which Shaina replied, "If you want to be able to do thingsyour way as a politician in this country, you need to have a professionalbacking without relying on politics for a livelihood." This time around,social media is clearly playing an important role in influencing opinions ofvoters, especially the youth. On that note, Shaina commented, "Social mediais a very good reality check." Sanyal said,
"Social media has been a greatplatform for us to get our message across to the people especially becausewe do not have big budgets like the other parties." While Jha joked that at timesheis afraid of waking up and checking his Mentions tab on Twitter,hesaid, "I believe it is a fantastic platform. The primary purpose socialmedia serves is to reach out and let people know what you stand for." On aconcluding note, Nayyar asked each of the panelists to tell the youth whythey should vote for them.
While Jha requested the youth to be optimisticand have a slightly positive outlook towards the future of the country,Shaina said, "We want to make sure that every single Indian is taken care ofwithout any divisive politics. We think India of first and that's the onlyassurance I can give you." Sanyal spoke particularly about herconstituency and opponents. She concluded by saying, "If you think any of myopponents have done what is good for your future, this city and the country,vote for them. If you think we need a change, then give me a chance and Iwon't disappoint you."