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Indian youth call for change of government: survey

Updated February 11, 2014
Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh. — File photo
Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh. — File photo

MUMBAI: More than half of young Indians would emigrate to the United States if given the chance and 80 per cent want a change of government, a survey showed Tuesday, just months before national elections.

Seventy-two per cent also said politicians' children should not enter politics, suggesting Rahul Gandhi, scion of India's renowned political dynasty and frontman for the Congress campaign, may not fare well at the polls.

The results of the survey of young smartphone users conducted by The Economist and mobile phone messaging platform Nimbuzz — are another ominous sign for Congress, tipped to lose the elections due to take place by May.

Some 77 per cent said a strong leader was the answer to India's problems, which The Economist said could be read as support for Narendra Modi, the “strong-man candidate” of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

More than 80 per cent of those surveyed said they would vote in the coming elections — the last time they were held was in 2009.

There are 120 million people in India aged 18 to 22 who are eligible to vote for the first time at the elections, according to The Economist.

Some 71 per cent agreed big political parties were part of the problem, which could bode well for upstarts like the anti-corruption Aad Aadmi Party that came to power in Delhi after state elections in December.

The new party, which rode a wave of popularity in December for its anti-graft stance, is now planning to take on the major parties at the national level.

The survey asked 12 questions to Nimbuzz customers, with an average of 11,263 responses. As those who took part were smartphone users, the results were likely skewed towards affluent regions, the newspaper said.