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Karnataka assembly elections 2018: Congress makes millennials its target group

By Anusha Ravi
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    Younger leaders to target young voters is the Congress' new initiative in poll-bound Karnataka. Under the name 'Nanna Karnataka', the Congress is attempting to woo millennials- mostly first-time voters- ahead of Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018. Young leaders like Priyank Kharge, Krishna Byregowda, Dinesh Gundu Rao, Rizwan Arshad plan to hold more than 100 town hall sessions across the state with youngsters to interact and gain their favour for the Congress.

    Karnataka assembly elections 2018: Congress makes millennials its target group

    Nanna Karnataka- an initiative to understand the aspirations, expectations, challenges and needs of the youth is set in the 'question-answer format'. "It was conceived as part of the broader strategy to reach out and listen to the younger generation and take their suggestions," is how Dinesh Gundu Rao, Working President, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) the concept. The first such interaction was organised earlier this month in Bengaluru. Now, the Congress is set to take the Town Hall discussions forward across the state.

    Nanna Karnataka is the Congress' attempt to strike a chord with the youth- a vote bank that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has claimed to be its strength. The Congress' enhanced social media interaction ahead of the Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018 has helped connect with youngsters and the Nanna Karnataka initiative is an extension of the same.

    "Unlike the BJP, we believe in taking questions, even if they are uncomfortable. We want a dialogue to understand the needs of youngsters and we are reaching out to them. Many suggestions are being sent to us even through WhatsApp and we will consider them for our manifesto," said Priyank Kharge, Minister for IT&BT and Tourism. He believes that if the initiative can make an impact in a multi-cultural Karnataka, it could be emulated elsewhere in the country.

    According to Election Commission statistics, based on the final electoral roll in Karnataka for the assembly elections, 16 lakh youngsters have registered as first-time voters. More than 50 per cent voters in Karnataka are under the age of 40 years. With Nanna Karnataka, the Congress aims to appeal to this vote bank which comprises mostly of millennials.

    The audience in these interactive sessions will include students, young entrepreneurs, graduates, young professionals. The Town Hall in Bengaluru saw questions over jobs, urban infrastructure, moral policing, dynasty politics, corruption and reservations. The Congress' strategy to create a feeling of inclusivity by taking suggestions from voters and interacting with them is likely to add to its image of 'development agenda as a poll plank'.

    Karnataka Assembly Election dates
    Date of notification April 17
    Last date to file nominations April 24
    Last date to withdraw nominations April 27
    Date of polling May 12
    Date of counting May 15

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