The Crotchet’s Corner

My perspective about all things inconsequential

Hot-wired elections

I was rather surprised the other day when an email from an organization named “Friends of BJP” landed in my Inbox. It contained the BJP’s election manifesto in the form of a .pdf attachment.

 

Wonder where these guys got my email ID from.

 

india-elections1

 

The elections are just around the corner, and while the traditional forms of campaigning must be on in full swing (mercifully I am far away from it all), an interesting development this time around is the use of the internet and mobile phones.

 

I understand that the BJP might be sending a billion sms messages during the campaign, and all parties combined might send out 3-4 billion. That is huge.

 

Not surprising, though, when one considers that mobile phone penetration has increased form 26 million in 2004 to over 360 million today.

 

Internet penetration has increased too, from a figure of 16 million five years ago, to 80 million at the moment.

 

The bean counters at the telecom operators and internet service providers must be grinning hugely.

 

Of the 700 million or so eligible voters, about 100 million are first-time voters in the age group 18-24. The younger age group, though not exactly politically inclined, might yet vote this time.

 

The Barack Obama campaign team used the internet extensively during the recent U.S. Presidential elections, and India’s political heavyweights have not been slow to follow, with websites, personal blogs, and social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

 

Most party websites look like brochures, but some senior politicians have their own, snazzier versions. Strange though, that most Congress party top-shots do not have a personal website. The BJP does.

 

The rural vote bank has, traditionally, been the main focus down the years. Some things might change this time.

 

I would like to believe that I am neutral when it comes to Indian elections – the guys from every political hue, in most instances, make tall promises and generally do not deliver when elected.

 

Leaves you with a sense of déjà vu.

 

But, I am going to hang on that mailed pdf. Should these guys make it, it will give me a reference document against which to write up my version of their score card.

 

Not that it’s going to make an iota of a difference.

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April 9, 2009 - Posted by | About this and that, Politics | , , ,

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