So When Congress decided to give unconditional support to Aam Aadmi Party, The newly formed party in India thought of doing something unconventional. They asked the voters if they should form the Government in Delhi with the party which they criticized heavily. And since then, Arvind Kejriwal and his comrades have gone all guns blazing asking the people of Delhi (and other Indian states as well) with the help of Social Media, SMS and their website. They are also planning to take this movement offline to each and every constituency (they plan to release 2.5 Million postcards across Delhi to individual families to ask them for their opinions.
So has this been done by any democracy oriented party ever before across the World?
I don’t think so.
The importance of social media in politics and elections came to surface when Barack Obama seemed to campaign and use social media aggressively it during his 2008 battle. As social media has grown to become a significant part of our lives & impacting the Youth, it sure has a growing aspect on political campaigns. With Narendra Modi being one of the first political leader to have an extensive presence on social media, all the political parties (at least the major ones) in India are leaving no stone unturned to attract the next generation of voters via the Internet.
Coming back to the Aam Aadmi Party, The party has published an appeal on AAP’s website, asking people to SMS YES or NO to 08806110335, else call that number to share their views. There is also an opinion poll on their website asking users to submit their thoughts. The page has already received more than 11,000 comments as I am writing this article from people in favor of the party to those opposing/amused by this decision. The party has so far followed a new approach to counter the 65 year old political system in this country. However, many people have reacted to this new implementation by the party on Twitter and not everyone is pleased with their decision to go to the people again for the decision.
Some Questions here
If people have already made the decision by voting for the Delhi elections, why would they want to vote again for the decision? Haven’t they shown their intent by choosing their leaders already and it is up to the chosen leaders to deem fit whatever they do to ensure that good governance is restored in Delhi? Arvind Kejriwal is calling this Participative Democracy where the democracy gives the power back to the people. However, outsourcing every decision to the people might not be feasible and he is a good old man to know that.
Talking about the online participation, the party obviously had not planned this strategically and was an On-The-Go decision for them to take this route. The website poll has no capcha code in place to ensure that only humans (and not bots) participate in this survey. Multiple Voting is possible from the same user as there is no login authentication in place. I participated via Chrome and the same form was accessible for me to vote via a different browser on the same workstation. So then there is a case of Duplication of votes as well.
AAP’s Facebook page is buzzing with comments after they declared that they will be asking for opinions on their Facebook page as well. The party has been aggressively asking about user opinions re-directing the users on the website poll along with spreading awareness of the differences between the Lokpal Bill recently passed by the Government and the Jan Lokpal Bill which they were aggressively fighting for since the past 2 years.
Below are some of the results of the conversations surrounding the Aam Aadmi Party on Social Media (Tool: uberVU) for the past 2 days. People are seen supporting/opposing & making fun of this new type of polling on Twitter and Facebook. There have been more than 52,000 mentions around the topic with the conversation being political in nature is male dominated. The average daily impressions have been more than 11 Million on social networks with most of the people talking around AAP and Congress.
What are your thoughts on the decision taken by Aam Aadmi Party? A new political gimmick or (as Arvind Kejriwal puts it) a new way of Participative Democracy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments