How India will deal with the digital political drive during a pandemic?

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People from all over the world are dealing with pandemic for a long time now. It has upset the normal in many aspects of ways. It threatens the hope to rebuild the economy even in shot portions that India has been making. When people thought that they have finally built their businesses, this sudden sweep, make them feel that they are being pushed back in the world they thought they had left behind forever. The migrants who came to cities in order to search for their jobs from their respective villages are now back in their villages because of the pandemic. Though it has been an upsetting moment for a while now, keeping hope is only the option!

However, the livelihood of the people has been disrupted mainly across the services sectors where there is no consumption which in turn led to the stop in production. And that is the major cause of stress especially the business owners. These ripples will unavoidably affect politics also. 

Politics includes a set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups or other forms of power relations between individuals such as disruption of sources and status. It is a touchy-feely exercise and includes a demonstration of feelings and actions to get understood by the public. Politicians are the people who are usually the “doers” and always gathered among people from rallies to meeting people and managing a steady stream of daily contacts. Politicians are always active among the people, for them, the interaction and response are like an energy dose. 

Pandemic changes all of it, from how the way people work, commute by social distancing, and now the change in the elections. Politicians who needed direct contact with the people will be now limited. The large gatherings and rallies are a big no. The going out and mingling with people now poses a major risk. So what should be done now? How with the elections takes place? How does the campaign work during this time? What about speeches and rallies? 

During pandemic as people are connecting through the digital platforms. The same method will be adopted by the election assembly and now drives digital politics. But what will be the impact of the first-digital voter for politicians and their parties? Will it improve the voting system in India or only bring new challenges? How will it affect the post-pandemic elections? 

But before looking to the future, let’s see how Indian politics has been changed digitally in the past decade!

The first time tech was used in the elections was back in 2009 when the use of SMS and outbound voice calls was done to adverse the parties. But the major part was still offline such as rallies, news media, and large campaigns to win the public response. As time flew, in 2014 the social media platform started to grow and politicians took full advantage of it. Now Facebook had become an important part of campaigns. As Facebook contains a humungous amount of data, it helps to identify which seats, booths, and voters should be targetted to get favorable outcomes. When social media started to grow more applications like Whatsapp and Twitter started to grow among people. And, in 2019 elections they were used to politicians used this platform as a ladder to expand their reach to most people. It was first India’s first social media election. The parties even started to create their apps if BJP had its Namo app, Congress had Shakti. The game empowers the intermediary, party workers and motivated workers, who deliver the message to the chosen supporters. In between 90 crore voters split it into 3 of 30 each, 30 crore loyalists who vote and vote based on the symbol for their favorite party, 30 crores non-aligned (NA) who wait until close to polling day to decide whom to vote for, and 30 crore non-voter (NV) who skip the vote. The key challenges were faced by NA and NV segments. 

The basics of every election are to identify, register, persuade, and turn out the right voters. A most effective method to perfectly done this is through data gathering and using digital technologies. It would enhance the process of targeting. Therefore, bringing digital technology will impact and transform the political world in the upcoming time.  

Amid pandemic when tech and smartphones are of utmost importance. There are many apps to solve your problems from train booking to hospital bed availability, online schooling as well as food delivery. India is shifting towards the digital area. 

Digital can help them to do basics tasks like managing the hierarchy of workers and volunteers, building a voter file of their constituents, interacting with their supporters, get feedback, and manage the booths, more effectively. Customer relationship management (CRM) can be used to track the engagement of the voters. Voters were already using digital techniques to do voting online, it is now the time for the politicians to become digital!

Digital politics will use database and three apps which will do the above five work. The database will become central to all the communication and interactions which has been collected by the parties over the past few years. The customer data platform (CDP) will be used to provide a unified view of every customer like identity, demographic information, behavioral data, and transactional data. The voter file is equal to the CDP. 

The database will contain all the voter’s information and what schemes have benefitted them. After the completion of the database, the first apps are required to manage the intermediaries which will be done via WhatsApp. The second app is for voter communication and engagement which includes the digital events and rallies to get their face, symbol, and message across. Zoom app can be used for this. The third app is for booth management – each booth has around thousands of voters and there is a need to manage and guide on which voters to persuade and turnout on the election day. 

Meanwhile, politicians need to survey as well, to get feedback on what people are thinking since there will be no personal contact. These techniques could even encourage more younger politicians to come up. 

Additionally, shifting to the digital brings a new path and more opportunities for India politics to develop. Also, correct the historical mistakes that kept Indians poor.    

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