About 200 children, who will become voters taking part in the country’s democratic process after a few years, have called upon the political parties to include their crucial issues in the manifestos for the upcoming Rajasthan Assembly election. Their charter of demands is the outcome of a series of seven workshops organised at divisional headquarters under the ‘Dasham’ initiative.‘Cell for children’The children’s demands included construction of toilets in schools, free distribution of sanitary pads, power supply in villages, mandatory holding of ‘Baal Sabha’ in village panchayats and improvement in Anganwadi centre services. “All political parties should establish separate cells for children,” stated the charter.At the ‘Dasham’ event here earlier this week, Rajasthan Assembly Deputy Speaker Rao Rajendra Singh and State Women’s Commission chairperson Suman Sharma (BJP), Mahesh Sharma (Congress), Sanjay Madhav (CPI-M), Nisha Siddhu (CPI), T.P. Sharma (Aam Aadmi Party) and Shailendra Awasthi (Samajwadi Party) interacted with the children.The event was an initiative of Rajasthan Right to Education Forum, Girls Not Brides — Rajasthan, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan and Baal Suraksha Network. Resource Institute for Human Rights spokesperson Vijay Goyal said though the children below 18 years were not allowed to vote, they should be heard in their capacity as “future voters”.Children below 18 years comprise 41% of the State’s population. If the teenagers till the age of 19 years are included in this population, the figures touch 49.6%, requiring special steps for their development by the government. The participants said the children could not become responsible citizens without an effective intervention for their healthy growth.Parties’ assuranceWhile the political leaders assured the gathering that they would try to get children’s issues included in the manifestos of their respective parties, the children from different districts, including the hearing- and speech-impaired students of schools and colleges, raised the issues which were affecting their natural growth.‘No school or hospital’Amira Khatoon, 17, from Jodhpur, said her village had no school or hospital and the people often died before getting to hospital in case of emergency. Kundan Kunwar from Udaipur said children in the rural families, who did not know anything about career choices, were lagging behind in the competition.The young boys and girls also challenged the traditions of educational opportunities being denied to the girls and the children forced into unwanted marriages at the tender age. The demands of specially abled children pertained to an easy access to public places and the availability of interpreters. .