New Media Brings New Power
By Abhishek Pandey
New media helped Barack Obama to be the president of United States of America. Now, it’s the time for Indian politicians and electorate to get the benefits of the digital media.
Information is the power and technology has enabled this power to be shared with the common people. And, Internet is one of the finest tools in the hands of the people these days. There are many websites which are encouraging electorates to use their voting power to decide the fate of the nation. Jaagore – one billion votes – is one of the initiatives. This website has Narayana Murthy, Chairmen Infosys Technologies ltd, Rakeysh Mehra, Film Maker, TS Krishna Murthy, former chief election commissioner and Tariq Ansari, MD Mid-Day Multimedia on the advisory board for expertise suggestions.
Voters from Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Nagpur and Pune can search their names in the voter lists of their constituencies on its website. Website also clarifies voting related myths among the voters. ‘Jaagore’ website also gives details on eligibility of registration in voting lists, correction in the list and other important information. Electon commission websites also provides this facility to the voters of many states on state specific websites.
There is another website ‘Vote India’, which is started by bureaucrat turned political scientist, Dr JP Narayan. This website asks people to not vote for politicians with criminal background and encourages people to make their vote count in this general elections. There are many similar websites and blogs on cyberspace to encourage and inform people about the importance of ballot power. ‘Votedeindia’, ‘Mission Jagruti and ‘Vote to Change’ are some of the prominent initiative on the web to update and persuade people for voting in this election season.
This time technology is playing a wonderful role in campaigning and informing people. Technology has been used by the political parties, social activists and also by election commission of India for different purposes. Now, the days are gone when booth capturing and looting of ballot boxes in remote areas go unheard. This is the first time that the voice of normal voters from the far lung areas can reach to the masses. There is a very unique website called ‘Vote Report’ on Internet to inform people about the wrong doings in the election. This is a collaborative citizen-driven election monitoring platform for 15th general elections.
Any citizen of India can report an incident related to general election on the website. ‘Vote Report’ accepts reports on different categories vary from forged voting, voter bribing, violence in elections, voting machine problems and other election related problems. Engage voters is another website with lot of interesting features. It is also having vote in and vote out widgets to scale the popularity of the leader in coming elections. Profiles of many eminent leaders are also can be accessed on the same website to judge their competence.
Many websites are specially designed to explain the election history of India including voters turn out from 1952 to 2004 and seats won by different political parties. If any electorate is interested to fin out the details, he/she can go to Indipepl.com. There is no dearth of information on any information and detailed information of contesting candidates, their agenda and for that matter, any thing related to elections are just a click away.
All the aforementioned initiatives are made to bring a 180 degree change in the national politics. We hope, Indian voters will turn out in large numbers this time. And every Indians should vote because their future would lie on their decision to push a particular button of an Electronic Voting Machine (EVM). Indian voters would decide the fate of the politicians in five phases from April 16 to May 13. Until the elections results are out on May 16, the outlook of the election result will keep haunting the politicians. Here, new media can hardly help them.