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With NEET-JEE, the Opposition has a shot at snatching Modi’s favourite voter — the youth

5 32 19
01.09.2020

If there’s one constituency that has resolutely promoted the cult of Narendra Modi, it is the young and often first-time voters. The Modi government’s insistence on holding the Joint Entrance Exam Main and National Eligibility and Entrance Test, or JEE and NEET, despite vociferous protests from the students could well be the Opposition’s moment to recapture some of this electorate it has squandered away, and make a dent in the Bharatiya Janata Party’s most loyal voter base today.

What makes this opportunity even more compelling for the Opposition is that these students don’t come from institutions like Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) or Jamia Millia Islamia, whom the BJP finds easy to classify as ‘anti-nationals‘ and ‘tukde tukde gang‘ etc. Their anger makes no difference to the party since they are not its voters anyway.

However, the protesting students, who are yet to enter college, do not conform to a particular ideology, and hence, it is difficult to label them. United by a common cause, they represent a wide cross-section of India’s youth—mixed in gender, caste and class. And unlike those from Delhi’s Left-bastion JNU, they do matter to the BJP’s electoral arithmetic.

The students’ anger — some genuine, some orchestrated — was visible on online platforms. With Prime Minister Modi not addressing students and their concerns in the latest episode of Mann ki Baat, the show saw a heavy dose of ‘dislikes’ on various YouTube channels, including the BJP’s, and hashtags like

#StudentsDislikePMModi began trending on social media.

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© ThePrint


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