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Lalitha Kamath Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Email: lalitha.

Radhika Raj, Independent Researcher. Email: radhikarraj@


“The youth is more involved in party politics in Vasai-Virar than any other part of the city because our leaders care what we think. If I have an idea, I have a forum to talk about it,” says Rohit Naik, a young 25-year-old website designer we met outside a leading politician’s office a few weeks before the elections. Naik was the ‘admin’ of the party’s WhatsApp group of his neighborhood and the unofficial coordinator of the locality, located in a leafy village of Vasai Virar, a city on the periphery of Mumbai. If anybody from the locality needed to get in touch with the authorities, or get some work done (from getting the local roads repaired to securing admission in a school), Naik was their go-to person. It was an unpaid position he had volunteered for, in the hope that his enthusiasm would be noticed, and it would someday earn him a party ticket. He was here today because the leading political party of Vasai Virar, Bahujan Vikas Aghadi, had released a set of forms for candidates interested in fighting municipal elections from their wards. Such a system is not common in India. “Elections in Vasai- Virar are different. If I want to fight for a position, I have to fill up a form, and then go through a set of interviews. Just like we would for college placements or if we go looking for jobs. Anybody can become a corporator here,” says Naik.

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