Archive for the ‘election’ Category
It’s the most important general election for the nation as they say. Everyone feels that they have influence and they can change the outcome of the event. This sentiment is on display every night on news channels. Quite ambitious and egoistic sentiment. Media has very little influence at least in influencing the outcome of election. What they might have is influence in fixing deals just as radia tapes revealed. In this event they are mostly spectators just as everyone else. I would say, it has influence in urban centers of India that too only in Metropolitan centers particularly on apolitical crowd. Why? One, if apolitical they don’t have much context and history. Second, they are mostly naive at least in this matter. As we can see people who would have never voted are now out in full force trying to change the system. Everyone wants to change the system. Everyone wants to have their version of India. But who gives fuck? The guy on the road has very little time for this intellectualisation of simple issues that affect his daily life. Now that’s where media has got it all wrong. Your ideology is not that people are interested in. Neither in your opinion or intellectualisation. We want to see (or if time and mood permits read) little bit of reportage, if you oblige.
Anyways, now if this is the most important general election country has ever had whom should I vote for? And what should be my priorities? Let’s see. Who can improve macro economic trend and get the fiscal deficit in control? Who can rein in inflation and increase the export? Who can get more FDI in infrastructure and create jobs in manufacturing sectors? Who has better monitory policy to reduce current account deficit? Who can create better relations among states and federal government? Who is better placed to navigate the emerging geo-political situation in south asia? and who is better placed to find India’s place in 21st century? Now that’s how you complicate the discussion you see. I like street side discussion better.
Ah! Whoever serves my selfish interest should get my vote! Isn’t it that simple. My Grandmother told me once that she would vote for Rajiv Gandhi because he increased pension for railway employees. So on same line I would vote for those who will make personal income tax 0%. But that’s not going to happen. Well as I see I need very little of Government. And whatever I need it for is actually at municipal level not at national level. But what about inflation and low growth? Yes, that affects me. Bombs going on and off as it was the case in 2008. Yes, that scares me somewhat. What else is there that affects me directly? Good highways, probably better air connectivity, bullet trains, private trains, better transport in the city (That’s again municipal issue) Electricity! 24 hours is what I want. Water. Potable water! It’s shame we as a country are incapable of providing safe drinking water. Nice, what else? I don’t have kids but education! Better trained engineers will help me hire easily :). What else do I want from my central government? Can I renew my passport in a day? If I already have passport why does it take a month or year to renew it? Better tourist places? All the places that I have visited and I have visited quite a lot and most of them are filled with garbage. They are dirty, filthy and littered with plastic. What else? Better shopping experience may be. Why not let more foreign brands come! Cheaper gadgets. Why TV is twice as costly compared with say Dubai? So that’s about it. As the song goes… chhoti si asha.
So, who can give all these? Well Congress has certainly failed in last 3-4 years. They lost their way since 2G scam exploded on their face. And if we vote for them again it would be encouraging non-performance as we fire non-performing employee we must let this government go. Besides, they are anti-middle class. They threw good money after bad money. Had very little focus on middle class. If you see all their flagship programs all of them were directed on non-middle class (mis-directed because none gave any tangible outcome). Except JNNURM. So whom should I vote for? Modi! Both the detractors and lovers of the man who has made the election as referendum on his work on Gujarat. While media is hell bent upon making it a referendum on him. But that may or may not materlise is a different matter. He is asking for vote based on his performance in Gujarat in last 10 years. He deserves a chance! All he has talked about is development and growth. In fact he Everything else is just noise. And probably people have made up their mind. But I needed to put it on paper to clear my thoughts. Yes, I don’t agree with BJP’s stand on Multi brand retail and article 377 on gay sex! But that’s not a deal breaker. Let’s get Modi. I too think I can influence the outcome 🙂
But I am not voting! Can we get postal ballot?
Poll bugle is sounded and dates are out. Country is going to decide who will rule takht-e-dilli for next 5 years. Present rulers are struggling to remain relevant but winds of change are blowing hard. It’s clear that change is coming. Heir apparent is not in contention. It’s chieftain of Gujarat or Baniya of Delhi, who are fighting it out. This season get entertained by Kejriwal and Namo instead of Saas bahu.
Indian public is loving this season. We are the umpires, spectators, and commentators. Politicians are performing either on the field or off the field as cheer leaders. It’s just tamasha. And we love them. Everyday appeal for wicket is made in terms of scams or complaints or runs are scored by giving vision of developed country or corruption free republic. One example, Yesterday video of Kejriwal and Punya Prasoon Bajpai of Aajtak was leaked and immediately entire BJP machinery was out complaining match fixing. Entire episode is something like this. Imagine Shahid Afridi is bowling and 6 fielders are surrounding Ravindra Jadeja. Ball hit the Shoulder and Akmal caught it and now entire 11 plus the crowd is going mad appealing for wicket. And we are loving it 🙂 NOT OUT is my call. You the reader, please be the umpire 🙂 Now to extend the analogy. Appeals should be believable, slightly doubtful and plausible. Otherwise umpires will give benefit of doubt to batsmen where none exists. Not because they want to but because those who are appealing have lost ground by making frivolous appeals.
BJP thinks it’s war of old order while it might be just IPL season for Indian public this time as well. It was 9th March and as per my friend’s ground report when he went to register as voter there was nobody at the counter. 🙂 So that’s where we are.
BJP has same old tired faces but it is hoping to win the game by just changing the captain. It’s more like hoping that Salman khan will carry the film irrespective of Cast, Direction, Story, Music and Dialogs. It may still do but then those who are looking for Anurag Kashyap’s level of film will be disappointed at least in near term. On the other end AAP is hoping that they can get in super six stage with 1 player team. And our old Congress is hoping that they can release something not so bad that can stop Salman making 200Crores.
Circus has just started and we are loving it already. We have stakes in the game but we don’t believe anyone can perform miracles. So those who are claiming to be magician by removing corruption or making India like US. Yes, good try. Or those who complain that Nazis are coming or Anarchists are coming. Again good try. But we have stopped buying into emotions and we are ruthless evaluators who work on self interest. And that’s great for our democracy!
So those who are partisan should go on the ground and try to convince those who will vote! Not those who are here for entertainment. You look like clown!
AAP is screwing up lately. And screwing up too fast to feel good about. So, some mouthful of suggestions to AAP
1. Shut the fuck up and focus on the job
You have zero experience in governing a municipal ward let alone state. There are huge expectations on your shoulders. If you fail you wont recover. There are large number of people who are expecting you to fail and equally large number of people want you to succeed. Don’t throw goodwill and hard-work by making stupid statements. Rate at which you are making blunders with in month you will loose sheen. One day your leader talks of Kashmir next day another leader talks of reservation. What the fuck is wrong with you guys? Just ask those who are not in the government to just shut up. All the other issues can come later. First show that you mean business. Rate at which you are fucking up is making me go scream on rooftop
2. Walk the talk
Don’t take big houses, cars. Don’t complain that people are measuring you by very high standards. You asked for it. When you set the utopian goals it’s obvious that you will be the first one to be measured by that goal. Don’t you know that kids don’t do what parents tell them to, they do what parents do. Same is true in public life. That’s why it is tough to bring change because the one who is bringing change has to stay out of the current setup. And by the way you have lived without luxury and fame so far you can live without it for few more months/years. Mr.Kejriwal do you know something called distant relationship? So work from Delhi and meet your family on weekends. Do it till dust settles down. If you really want to work closely with your ministers get apartments/houses close to eachother and near assembly and work from there.
3. Forget 2014
Don’t fall in trap. Honestly you will look like B-team of congress. You don’t have machinery. You don’t have cadre (At least I don’t know). You don’t have agenda. You don’t fucking know what is your vision? If your vision is what Yogendra Yadav’s vision is you are fucked. Your supporters are from middle class and they don’t buy this socialist shit anymore. Better option would be to let people look at what you have done in Delhi. They will give you chance. Take one step at a time. Rome was not built in a day. You have long distance to go. Don’t spread too thin too fast.
4. Don’t encourage seasonal birds
Captain Gopinath, Kamal Farooqui and many others like them will come to you. They are like big boss contestants. They are just publicity seekers. Don’t fucking give them eyeballs. You guys look equal morons.
5. Logout and prepare the plan for 100 days
Logout from 24/7 media buzz. It’s not helping you folks. Nobody has ever achieved anything meaningful unless they have plan. I haven’t seen any plan from you folks for next 100 days. If not have it soon. Think big execute bigger. Show results and go for glory. That’s the only way. You can’t hope to just work like donkey and resolve things for city like Delhi in 100 days. There are few low hanging fruits and many which will require planning, convincing and execution.
Will they do it? I don’t think so Why? Refer to my previous post for that… More on why AAP will fuck up faster than we think later.
Some AAP supporters claimed what has happened in Delhi is revolution and it has never happened in India. That’s factually incorrect. It is not right to compare past events with the present because things are never same. People change, circumstances change. But revolution of much larger scale happened in 77 when Indira Gandhi was thrown out of power by Janata Party lead by Jayaprakash Narayan. It happened at the all India level while AAP’s revolution has happened only at the state level. Yes, the plant has potential to be banyan tree. But it’s just a plant as of now. In 1989 VP Singh lead Janata Dal brought Rajiv Gandhi’s government down (Janata Party avatar 2.0). The difference between AAP phenomena and previous events is AAP is predominantly represented by the politically inclined youth not part of any party. In 77 and 89 established political leaders, who were in public life for decades led the movements. You can say Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav and others are also political activists or are from occupation that’s political in nature with enough experience in organising events and carrying out rallies etc. But they are not part of the establishment. That’s the difference.
Anyway, AAP will see influx of people and leaders joining the bandwagon. AAP has open the door to many who are politically inclined but has no place to go. As Congress is more or less family controlled, lucky sperm party even at taluka levels and BJP is very hierarchical starting from ABVP days. It’s difficult to get the lateral entry into politics in India unless you are celebrity of some kind. AAP has opened shop with solid brand equity. Many people will join. This is great news for Indian democracy. Fresh blood, new talent, lot of raw energy will be on display. AAP for next couple years will be very interesting phenomena that will unfold in India’s political landscape. But will that change India for better? Yes, indirectly. It will make other parties sit up and take notice. At least national parties won’t be able to run affairs in business as usual manner. Impact is already visible the way Rahul Gandhi intervened in Lokpal and later in Aadarsh report. Even before elections BJP was forced to name Dr. Harshwardhan, more likeable leader as CM candidate and after the elections it didn’t indulge in horse trading to form the government. Now BJP has announced shadow cabinet to monitor AAP’s work. That’s very welcome change. AAP has already started playing role of catalyst in that sense.
But AAP as a party of idea is nothing more than cleaner version of JDU or RJD, both are left over fractions of long dead Janata parivar. That’s why I consider them as Janata party 3.0. Comparison here is not about talent, motive or organisation but strictly speaking about their ideas. Consider how many times Arvind Kejriwal thanked Allah and Ishwar in his swearing in ceremony . (Atheist thanking gods in the most important speech of his life so far. Can it get more hypocritical? But that’s different topic) Consider Kejriwal courting Tauqeer Reza Khan (who declared fatwa on Taslima Nasreen) before election  and now Kamal Farooquie (member of AIMPLB who claimed Bhatkal was arrested because he is a Muslim, not because he is IM terrorist) joining AAP . Consider on day one he is talking about 30Cr subsidy to provide free water . Consider on day one Manish Sisodia saying private schools are not for making profit . As we can see AAP basically is party with with simialr socialist ethos.
My close friend Vishnu who volunteered with AAP told, “Hope is AAP’s base that is urban middle class. Hopefully they will force party to take reasonable position”. Honestly I don’t have much hope. Consider Kejriwal himself. His entire political upbringing is with Aruna Roy and Harsh Mander. Socialists to the core. Consider Prashant Bhushan or Yogendra yadav. Same. Though foot soldiers have no ideology they forget that their leaders do. Whatever they claim on their party’s website.
But on larger question of what are the top 3 things that needs to change immediately for India? What role AAP will play?
1. End of crony capitalism (Remember we need capitalism with fair, transparent, and open regulations unlike current rent seeking that Congress has indulged in in last decade). As we will see later AAP won’t be able to do it. It’s not in their thinking. They may oppose or expose crony capitalism but they can’t propose solution. BJP with Arun Shourie as disinvestment minister during NDA regime initiated the process hopefully they will take it forward during their second term.
2. Police & Judicial reforms: SC has already given judgement on police reforms but it has not been implemented by the states. Without gaining influence in major states AAP can’t hope to have impact on this issue. On Judicial reforms some serious action is required here and hopefully AAP can force others to take position as in lokpal movement.
3. Infrastructure: What country needs is massive investment in physical and social infrastructure. Physical infrastructure like ports, roads, railways etc and social infrastructure like access to health care, sanitation and quality education. AAP’s thinking is against privatisation and without private money the scale at which country needs to build infrastructure to come out of the trap of 3rd world country is almost impossible.
Finally, if you have political ambitions, it’s good time to join AAP. It’s limited time offer. It’s like start up after series A funding.
 http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/assembly-elections-2013/delhi-assembly-elections/Once-atheist-Arvind-Kejriwal-thanks-god-calls-it-miracle/articleshow/28047228.cms, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_o4GQL2cQc,
 http://freethoughtblogs.com/taslima/2013/11/11/fatwabaaz-and-politicians/ http://www.ndtv.com/article/assembly-polls/cleric-who-issued-fatwa-against-taslima-nasreen-may-campaign-for-arvind-kejriwal-441919
After looking at india272.com it has just opened up my mind to the possibilities of to have connected society to bring change which can be quite transformative.
It’s just amazing to think about the possibilities this idea is carrying in its womb.
It has possibility of bringing millions of user on the political arena. It has potential to transform Indian society from being recipient of Govt’s efforts to participants in Govt formation and day to day governance. It can also make BJP truly democratic party.
That itself can create immense opportunity for everyone. But let’s talk of what it can do for 2014 election alone.
Statistics & Technology: Finding the ground
1. BJP already knows what seats they lost by thin margins in last 2 elections.
2. BJP already knows where their support base lies
3. BJP also knows where their potential seats lie
Take data from site like IndiaVotes.com or ECI and rate each constituency on the scale of 1 (sure win) – 5 (no hope). Where BJP needs to focus is on seats between 2-4. Maximum effort should go in 3 to ensure margin seats are won and then on 4 to try to capture seats which can theoretically be won. Then on 2s to make sure no blunders are made.
How technology can help? Help find seats and booths where they should focus on and in what capacity they should invest in.
- Rate each assembly segments and then each booth of these constituency also in the same way. This gives us the contour of the current situation.
- Also mark each booth on whether it’s urban or rural segment as well (O)*
- Also mark each booth on its caste, religion composition (O)
- Take another table and rate each caste and religion in every state and rate them on favor-ability scale (S)
- Now enter details of voting pattern percentage of total voting and votes received by BJP in last 5 elections (O)
- Consider candidate details like caste and results in each seats in last 5 elections (Winnability of BJP in last 5) (O)
- Caveats to add at each seat level if applicable (Events which were not of permanent nature but had impact on the outcome)
Note: (O) Means objective data with no bias involved (S) Bias can lead to in-correct results
Now we have 5-7 axis on which we can do clustering of booths. We can have booths that can be divided in 5 categories. Weight for each axis requires some real insights in to electioneering and is critical factor. Probably needs to do some experimentation with clustering exercise. Basically need to dissect data in multiple ways to see different patterns. As Indian society elections are complex it’s not 1+1=2 game. Probably this exercise can be restricted to few bellwether seats initially.
Now this may provide insights into booths where
1. Voting % needs to increase (Favorable to BJP but low voting booths)
2. Needs to win over local caste leader or candidate selection may have impact (High voting booths but fluctuating over time. Or caste combination is not very favorable)
3. Need to enroll volunteers (BJP’s traction can increase with ground presence)
Let’s say from first exercise we have classified each booth in the country on the scale of 1 to 5. Now what are the actionable insights we can get.
Technology to work on results of 1. Consider Scenario-2:
Take constituency that fall in category 4 and 5.
Booths with favorable parameters like urban center, high potential to find sympathizers etc. If india272.com becomes the tool that works on ground level with leader in charge of constituency, coordinator for each assembly segment down to booth level. Plus BJP leadership should endorse and support this endeavor. If it’s not mission critical effort it will not yield desire outcome. Target should be to get at least 10 volunteers for category 5 seats (Potentially BJP members in future) per booth and 2x for each category up-to level 1 seat. By doing this it is ensured that there are troops at ground level for each booth. That’s remarkable.
Now the requirement is to
1. Ensure two way communication
Induction of volunteers is required. There are enough fence sitters and it requires some missionary response. There should be weekly or bi-weekly meetings at booth level. With agenda set initially from the top. India272.com with SMS/Calendar integration can actually send SMS to all volunteers. Minutes of the meetings e-mail, SMS reminders, SMS weekly agenda to each volunteer.
2. Ensure sense of belongingness and sense of purpose
Volunteers should be able to meet and know who all are associated with the mission. More the merrier. People just get excited by seeing so many people on the ground. There should be first formal meeting that tells how many people are joining, where we are meeting and what’s the agenda. Even in Google with all offices having so many VC units physical meetings are mandatory.
3. Ensure that action is tangible, movement is forward
Once physical meeting has happened have action everyday online either through SMS, email alerts or whatever way possible. There should be enough action on India272.com that it becomes default place to check along with email. Co-ordinated effort by senior leaders to post their itinterary, speeches, agendas, op-eds, videos, etc.
4. Ensure volunteers stay connected
Volunteer should be able to call coordinator or tall free number and update his/her status if s/he is from remote area. Each volunteer should get task list, and coordinator should ensure it’s updated. Coordinator should call every volunteer every week to ensure people know we care. People will lose interest after initial outburst of passion. To sustain it for 20+ weeks is tough requires sustained effort. Everyone should update their call status, meeting status, agenda update. In remote constituency it might require more field work hence require mobile app to help coordinators. Paper work and then converting it to digital copy will not work. App should be in indian languages.
5. Management of the mission
There should be bird’s eye view for each constituency and it can be public information as well in all democratic sense. Coordinators, volunteers should get points and visible recognition on the site and elsewhere. Leadership should be able to track action, reach volunteers, and focus on getting message out. Imagine volunteer in Balia getting call from Rajnath Singh/Modi and getting congratulated for his/her effort.
What it can do beyond 2014 is just mind boggling. But parking my thoughts for later.