For India’s 84 million first-time voters, election finally gives the

  In less than a month, the world’s biggest democratic exercise begins in India. And out of a total of 900 million eligible v

oters, a staggering 84.3 million — including 15 million aged 18 or 19 — will be casting ballots for the first time.

  So what do they want from their politicians?

  Tolerance, according to Shreeparna Chatterjee, a 22-year-old arts student in New Delhi going to the polls for the first time.

  Voting will be held in seven phases across the vast country, from 11 April to 19 May, with the res

ult announced on May 23. The Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which stormed to power at the last gen

eral election in 2014, is battling a challenge led by the secular opposition Congress party

  Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) claimed a record-breaking 282 seats in the national parli

ament five years ago. Critics accuse his party of fostering religious polarization to woo support from the country’s Hindu majority.

  ”With this government, I feel it’s been very heated religion-based and caste-based politics,” Chatterjee told CNN.

  She has not yet decided who to support but does want to see a change in an increasingly toxic political climate.

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Utsav Vasudeva, a 22-year-old law student in the souther

  city of Bengaluru, says the BJP “has done a lot of good work” but he is uneasy about its religious underpinnings.

  ”Any time that (situation) happens it is chaotic for the system, and I feel one thing Congress stands for is secularism, which the BJP does not,” he said.

  Modi’s rise has left many Indian liberals worried about an increase in religious intolerance at the expense of Muslim

s and other minorities. In contrast to the Congress Party’s secular stance, the BJP is strongly aligned with conse

rvative Hindu nationalists — the more extreme of whom want India governed in accordance with strict Hindu beliefs.

  Eshna Kutty, 22, was born in the southern city of Chennai, grew up in New Delhi and

now studies dance therapy in Mumbai. She is concerned about the next leader’s approach to governing a diverse country.

  ”In a country that has different religions and cultures, Modi as a leader, his party bein

g in power, means that a huge population is ignored and sidelined,” Kutty told CNN.

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st time voter Eshna Kutty, 22, wants India’s next leader to giv

  a voice to all the nation’s many minorities.

  ”I am Hindu, I come from a privileged background, so for people like me, no matter which part

y comes to power, we aren’t going to face the brunt of it. The most affected are the minorities and

the poor… If a certain party comes to power, these people will face huge problems.

  ”They are the people I want to keep in mind when I choose a party.”

  For Aastha Kulshrestha, a 23-year-old law student from New Delhi, her expectation of the n

ext government is that it should not pit one group or religion against the other. “It is a great impe

diment to the growth of the nation, a nation that is democratic, socialist and a republic,” she told CNN.

  ”If you want to make a change… you vote”oung voters could have a huge influence on the

outcome. For some, casting their ballot is an exciting “coming of age” moment. But many are disenchanted.

  John Simte, 22, a law student in Bengaluru, says he is “thrilled to be a part of the world’s la

rgest democratic project.” He admits a “deep sense of apathy” amongst his peers but is nonetheless optimistic.

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It (political apathy) has seeped into their minds because

  of the kind of politics the parties do. Going forward, it is important to restore confidence in the electoral system we have,” Simte said.

  ”The moment we restore that confidence, there will be a social and political tran

sformation. More people will come out and vote, more people will stand for elections.”

  Mumbai-based student Kutty believes “voting gives you the right to critique the government.”

  ”If you want to make a change, you cannot just complain about it — you do your part and you vote,” she said.

  Kulshrestha, from New Delhi, wholeheartedly agrees.

  ”It is absolutely pertinent that every citizen exercises their right. It is very easy to later sob about the policies of the govern

ment and the socio-political climate of the country if you haven’t actively done anything to change it,” she said.

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Trump issues first veto of his presidency, says resolution ‘pu

  Deeming congressional rejection of his border national emerg

ency “reckless” and “dangerous”, President Donald Trump issued the first veto of his presi

dency Friday, insisting the situation on the southern frontier amounted to a threat to Americans’ safety.

  ”Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution and I have the duty to veto it,” Trump said fr

om the Oval Office before officially sending the measure back to Congress without his approval.

  It is the first time in his two years in office that Trump has used his presidential v

eto power to block legislation and comes after a dozen Senate Republicans joined Democrats to rebu

ke Trump’s use of his national emergency power to bypass Congress and fund construction of a border wall.

  Trump said the resolution, which would have reversed the national emergency, “put countless Americans in danger.”

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There haven’t been too many that are bigger emergenc

  than what we have” at our border, he said.Trump was surrounded at Friday’s event by officials fr

om Customs and Border Protection as well as surviving family members of those who have loved ones

killed by undocumented immigrants. Attorney General William Barr was also at the President’s veto event.

  While some lawmakers — including some Republicans — have argued against the President’s use of national emergency power

s in this instance, the Justice Department set forth a robust defense of the President’s authority to do so in a letter

to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell earlier this month, according to a copy obtained by CNN on Friday.

  ”The President acted well within his discretion in declaring a national emergency concern

ing the southern border,” wrote Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd, setting out the legal

basis for the proclamation under the National Emergencies Act and additional statutory authorities, which larg

ely tracks an internal memo issued by the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department.

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The President’s emergency Proclamation reasonably descr

  ribed the current situation as an ongoing ‘border security and humanitarian crisis,'” Boyd adds. “The cris

is at the border … may qualify as an emergency even though it, too, is not entirely new.”

  Twelve Republican senators banded together Thursday to deliver the f

orceful rebuke after expressing concerns that Trump’s use of the national emergency decla

ration as an end-run around Congress violates the separation of powers and sets a bad precedent that a woul

d-be future Democratic president could follow to unilaterally drive their agenda.

  The White House sought to pare back Republican defections leading up to the vote, with the President and White House aides

making clear to Republican senators that a vote against Trump on this issue would have ramifications come re-election time.

  Trump rejected entreaties from several Senate Republicans t

o agree to a compromise that would curtail his national emergency powers and instead fra

med the vote not as a matter of constitutional concerns, but rather as a litmus test on border security.

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The approach — particularly the threats of re-election reperc

  ussions — stemmed defections from several Republicans up for re

-election in 2020, but ultimately failed to stop the Senate from passing the resolution.

  Trump tweeted about the political advantage he expects those who supported him will receive.

  ”I’d like to thank all of the Great Republican Senators who bravely voted for Strong Bo

rder Security and the WALL. This will help stop Crime, Human Trafficking, and Drugs entering our Cou

ntry. Watch, when you get back to your State, they will LOVE you more than ever before!” Trump tweeted Friday.

  Trump’s veto sends the resolution back to the US House of Re

presentatives, which is expected to pick it up after the week-long congressional recess. The Hous

e is not expected to have the two-thirds of the chamber’s support needed to override the President’s veto.

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minutes that explain the Trump presidencyTrump, a bad defe

  The President reacted with characteristic defiance to Congress’ repudiati

on of the national emergency declared in the cause of funding his border wall.

  ”VETO!” he tweeted, promising to crush the insubordination of lawmakers who had tr

ied, where many others had failed, to rein in his quest for power and contempt for constitutional norms.

  Trump’s crisis management reveals defining attributes of this most unique of political careers: The irrepressible energy

of a force of nature personality, a refusal to accept a loss and an instinctive reflex to seek a new opening.

  But it also showcases less positive traits, including his willingn

ess to trample the truth for his own benefit, a selfish streak for which friendly foreign leade

rs sometimes pay the price and even a shockingly casual way of talking about political violence.

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His full political arsenal was on display in a Trumpian mas

  sterclass of a photo-op in the Oval Office Thursday with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.

  A historian 100 years hence could pull the tape of the 16-minute tour

de force and learn everything they needed to know about the Trump presidency.

  Trump’s behavior on Thursday offered pointers to how he will attempt to ride out political crosswinds using the uniq

ue political tools that made his late-in-life transition from business to Washington so successful.

  Thursday’s rebuke from Congress came amid a spell that wo

uld have been disastrous for any conventional politician, as legal and congressional probe

s suggest tough challenges ahead as special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report looms. Unusually, it also included a sla

p from some Republicans who have been loath to challenge their leader in the first two years of his presidency.

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