Apr 5, 2009

Elections 2009 - Technology & Youth Make It a Turning Point In India's History

The election scene for 2009 is slowly unfolding and though i was unusually aloof in the beginning, the excitement is catching up and i now find myself scanning news and even volunteering for a new political party. A significant development this time has been that people instead of shrugging their shoulders at the dirty political landscape, are actually wanting to do something. Baby steps abound, examples include:

  • Leveraging the Net to share information on criminal backgrounds of politicians (http://www.nocriminals.org/)
  • Professionals like Meera Sanyal (a banker in South Mumbai) contesting the elections
  • Professionals across cities launching the Pledge to Vote campaign (http://letsvote.in), the Hyderabad event just happened today morning near the Hussain Sagar lake with thousands participating
  • The Jaagore campaign titled One Billion Votes India, which has been running for several months now and supported by leaders like NRN of Infosys
  • Eminent entrepreneurs like Rajesh Jain forming support groups such as Friends of BJP (that can also act as pressure groups) with leading political parties. 
  • Hectic usage of Orkut for canvassing which is perhaps the Social Network with the largest penetration in India.

But the most impressive of all developments is the launch of Lok Satta Party as a political movement. Launched by a former IAS office, Jayaprakhas Narayan this is the only party with clear cut plans on removing poverty rapidly in 5 years, building infrastructure etc. Obviously they are not promising dole outs that make beggars out of voters. Loksatta has picked up momentum with several professionals joining them and supporting them as volunteers. You can check their web site and Twitter site to know more about what they are doing.

Other events that have fanned these embers include Obama's election in the US last year, demonstrating that nothing is impossible in politics. The 26/11 attacks in Mumbai too have stirred people into taking some action. 

These steps will only pick up momentum and I clearly see a strong working alternative emerge that will capture 8 to 10% of the popular vote next time around. Our politicians, smart as they are will soon start to appeal to this voter base which will mean a true change in politics. The virtual circle will progress leading to a more mature polity in 10-15 years from now.

No comments: