With colleges set to close for the summer break, Kerala saw most of the election candidates visiting students on campus on Thursday, in an attempt to strike a chord with the young voters - a sizeable chunk of the 2019 electorate.
In Thiruvananthapuram - a high profile constituency - challenging the two time sitting Congress MP, diplomat Shashi Tharoor are BJP's former Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan and CPI's sitting MLA C Divakaran.
But despite their stark political differences, one common question that they were asked at different colleges in the city - "What will you do about our jobs if you get elected?"
Left candidate C Divakaran hit out at the central government for the alleged fake promises of the past. "Prime Minister promised the youth of the nation two crore jobs every year. Where are they? If I am elected, I will shout and raise my voice in the Parliament, drawing attention to your concerns. Look at what is happening in all universities, including JNU. All this needs to stop," C Divakaran answering the question of an engineering student Amritha from Muttathara Engineering College.
But students are also busy assessing candidates.
"We are skeptical. This election has lot dependent on young people and that's why we have so many candidates trying to reach out to us. My concern is - after elections- will they care about us," Erin, an undergraduate student from Mar Ivanios college said.
Around two thirds of India's population interacting informally with students at the All Saints College - an all-women's college in Thiruvananthapuram, Shashi Tharoor was asked about the lack of jobs, the perceived threat to India's secularism and corruption allegations against even the Congress.
"It's about improving tax structures, increasing investments and creating jobs, and the central government has failed in all of this. The skill improvement programmes are terrible for the informal sector," Mr Tharoor said.
Responding to a student on the question of Congress and his stand on "threat to India's secularism", Mr Tharoor hit out at sangh parivar's 'hindutva'. "Congress and I stand for secularism. Not for divisiveness, unlike a particular party. In Kerala you have Onam. Who calls it a Hindu festival? Everyone partakes of it. This is India."
BJP candidate Kummanam Rajasekharan, taken around College of Engineering by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad students , visited in all around three colleges just in one day.
Mohit, a 3rd year computer science student asked, "What will you do for Thiruvananthapuram, if elected?"
Responding, Mr Rajasekharan said, "The earlier MPs have done no development in our constituencies regarding metro rail, demand for high court bench, waste management. My focus will be more on developing our constituency."
Students believe being a parliamentary election, the focus is going to be on national issues, at least for the youth. "Sabarimala is a crucial issue in Kerala. But for the youth, I think a lot of other things are important - especially about what is happening across the nation. Jobs are crucial," Abhilash, studying in Mar Ivanios said.
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