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Is the youth of India swayed by the use of social media in politics.

Power of social media is hardly unknown. It can also be named as "social expression", with platforms like twitter, facebook, blogs, wikis, podcast etc. people are equipped to showcase their ideas and innovations, express their viewpoint and most importantly become socially aware.
Social media is the only direct and instant platform for communication between political parties and a common man. It empowers people to participate in decision making, by criticizing or appreciating the steps taken by policy makers. Thus, justifying the purpose of Democracy: "government for the people, government by the people".
In India, youth comprise about 75% of the total population (Census 2011), generation who is both comfortable and fluent with the use of social media. This is the reason why political parties are making their way towards e-manifestos and e-campaigning, luring this major section of the country. They are harnessing the power of social media and the results are really overwhelming. 2014 election is a full proof example of former statement made.

Let us revisit the whole scenario of transition led by social media, to support my opinion here are some statistics:

  • In 2014, there was increase in the number of voters from 58% in 2009 to 66.4% in 2014.
  • These elections saw 50% of young voters active on social media.
  • ASSOCHAM reported that there were approximately 4000-5000 crore total ads for publicity.
  • Approximately Rs.1500 crore was spent on e-campaigning by each party.
  • According to analysts this was the first "social media elections".
  • Our elected P.M Mr. Narendra Modi has more than 16 million likes on facebook, and is 6th most followed world leader on twitter.

This election is considered first of its kind, with the maximum exposure to social media till now. These figures from 2014 elections make it clear, why social media is becoming face of political manifestos and why political parties are realizing power of such platforms.
Youth participation in political matter is outnumbering all previous records, thanks to the era of technology. Electronic devices have made it possible for them to remain socially active at any point of time and place. It wasn�t that they were disinterested in politics instead, they were somehow alienated from civic affairs. Now, they are backed by the power of social media giving them voice and opportunity to participate.
It will be wrong to say that youth can easily be swayed away. 61st constitutional amendment act of 1989, reduced the voting age from 21 to 18 years for Lok Sabha as well as other assemblies, realizing the importance of younger generations in decision making.
In past experiences, they have exploited social media to raise voice against injustice and illicit practices. They have rational beliefs and ideals, and are willing to free our country from the shackles of stereotypes. Although, they are lured by dozens of agendas and policies flooded in social media but they are not gullible. In India there are over fifty political parties/groups all promising of a better future, not only younger generations but any person of any age-group can easily get confused. Irrespective of age, the only thing matters is how we analyze situations and what choices we make.
Youth can be good decision makers; they can decide well what is good for the future of our country of which they themselves are a part. They are already changing face of India in the world, by residing at prestigious positions of reputed firms, taking their talents at international platforms. World is bowing to the power of Indian youth and I don�t think they lack the power to decide what is good.
I will conclude by what Dr. Babatunde Osotimehim (Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations) once said - �young people are innovators, creators, builders and leaders of future, but they can transform the future only if they have skills, health, decision making and real choices in life�.

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Ayushi Srivastava