The Political Action Internship – 2014, under the mentorship of Prof. Rajeev Gowda will provide an insider’s look into the political process this Lok Sabha Election. (more…)
To understand the various verticals of the Lok Sabha election and the Indian constitution better, the interns had various guest lectures sessions from eminent speakers.
HARISH NARSAPPA, Co-founder and President of Daksh:
Placing great emphasis on voter perception and opinion polls, Mr Narsappa conducted an interactive session with the Political Action Interns. The latter were given an insight into how various types of Data Analysis operations worked and were told how myths regarding voter patterns like differences among the rural and urban population, influence of distribution of gifts, have been proved to be incorrect.
N. HARISH, Advocate and Member of B.PAC:
Reading out the Preamble to the Indian Constitution word to word from his mind’s eye, Mr Harish left the Political Action Interns stunned to the point of realisation that there is a lot to learn. Explaining key concepts in and around the Constitution of India, Mr. Harish made the latter seem the most comprehensible object of study. A repository of accurate knowledge, he disseminated myriad historical and legal facts to the interns defending the lengthiest constitution in the world.
SRIDHAR PABBISETTY, Chief Operating Officer of the Centre for Public Policy, IIM Bangalore and member of Lok Satta party:
As Election Day drew closer Mr Pabbisetty was invited to interact with all the interns and to give them a broad knowledge about opinion polls and its impact on voters. He also shared with them his experience of contesting the Assembly Elections in 2013 from the Lok Satta Party.
PROF GADI ARIAV, Associate Professor at the Recanati School of Business, Tel Aviv University, Israel:
“The constant turmoil that the Indian government goes through is common to any country whether it is a Democracy or not.”
On the last day of the internship, all the Political Action Interns were given an opportunity to understand the politics of Israel. Prof Gadi from the Tel Aviv University provided valuable knowledge about how different Israeli politics is different from that of India’s as well as how some aspects of politics like dilemmas and disagreements are faced by every nation’s government.
Blogs by interns:
Indian Law: An inevitable necessity in its politics by G Anju Rao
Getting a peak into Lokniti’s work draws from the rationale of answering a range of questions about Indian elections, Prof Sandeep Shastri believes that the network of 35,000 youth led by 60 experts in 28 states of the country is credible in its post-poll data collection, as the Hindu and The Economic and Political Weekly often quote their study. “It is an authentic mirror of the larger population since sampling is done on strict probability,” he explained.
Mr. Shastri took his audience at Studio Chaapé through the evolution of the National Election Studies. From first generation centralised control to second generation dependence on media to third generation thematic focus and decentralisation in survey methods, Lokniti stands today at its sophisticated best.
Blogs by interns:
“Let us all become leaders and actively participate in politics. Change will come to India; it is just a matter of time”.
Ms Alva took some time off to interact with Political Action Interns at Bharti Vidya Bhavan, Bangalore. Her constant reiteration of her agenda on women empowerment gathered enthusiastic students from the audiences to lend an ear to the rendezvous.
She discussed invariably on vocational training, entrepreneurship and the rise of small scale industries to which women must be actively involved. According to Alva, 60% of women in India are financially dependent on either their husband or family.
She believes to convert this 60% to 0% as her agenda ensures to offer an opportunity to every woman in the city to live their life free of limitations.She urged the interns to specifically participate in political activities and choose a leader who would endorse their views.
Blogs by interns:
Candid talk: Ms Nandini Alva and Political Action Interns by Abhishek Kamath
Mr Anand Sharma, Union Minister of Industries and Commerce, in an interaction with interns said, ““You don’t become a strong leader by using strong adjectives. You have to be strong in philosophy, conviction and ideology.”
Truly, an apt description of what a political leader should be made of! The Political Interns were lucky enough to get an opportunity to witness a live Press Conference that was held at the KPCC office by Mr. Sharma.
Mr Sharma spoke about the richness of the ideologies of the INC brought around from the time of Nehru-ji. He was quite pleased to note that we youngsters have taken a keen interest in learning politics through this wonderful internship and he also stressed on how important it is for us to be a part of the greater picture.
Blogs by interns:
Candid talk with Mr Anand Sharma by Mahim Kamath
It is a matter of fact– MEDIA plays an extremely crucial and influential role in the entire political process. Being the fourth pillar of Democracy, it is essential to closely analyse the relation between media and politics. Today, the dynamics of media with regard to politics is fast-changing. It is not just responsible for providing news but is even instrumental in shaping citizens’ thoughts especially when the topic is predominantly ‘Politics’.
To give us a deeper understanding of this relation, Mr Vijay Grover, former editor of News X broadcast channel and founder of Pledge to Vote organisation, stated that apart from being just crucial to politics, media carefully “chooses the politicians” it wants to make sensational. There was concern, however, that media should, in the long run, be controlled or should abide by a certain law that could translate and simplify the meaning of ‘freedom of the press’.
To further understand this connection of media and politics, Shruthi Kedia, Journalist and PAI co-ordinator, conducted an elaborate session with the Political Action Interns. The forum was to first understand what idea the interns had about electoral processes, political parties and candidates. It was to gain an insight as to how media activities can influence public perception.
During the course of this discussion, Ms Kedia also discussed with the interns as to how media bias plays part in portraying political parties and politicians. The political leaning that certain media channels are alleged to have undertaken was a major point that was raised with respect to the credibility of media.
Concluding this discourse, the importance of media as a watchdog was also brought up. It was vital to comprehend how media functions and what eventually becomes news.
“Media has immense power in moulding the views of the public. The entire political process is understood by us only through the medium of news and that we hold beliefs with respect to political parties is predominantly because of media itself,” said Ms Kedia.
Blogs by interns:
While at Studio Chaapé our co-ordinators were productively using time to conduct various discussions with interns. These interactions catered for a better understanding of concepts that govern the political process. The agenda was to generate through these discussions, a variety of ideas and get to know how the younger India perceives electoral routes.
Under the expertise of Mr Ajit Phadnis, Ph.D. Student from IIMB and an advisor to the Loksatta Party, Karnataka, interns were given a chance to analyse National manifestos presented by different parties ahead of the Lok Sabha Elections. They discussed the merits and demerits of manifestos and decoded the national parties’ election agenda and vision. With the help of Mr Phadnis, interns were also given reliable inputs to follow while creating their own fictional party manifestos.
The session conducted was to take the interns a step closer into the depths of Electoral activities. A Manifesto, as we know, is more like an identity that a political party assigns to itself in order to make clear to the citizens as to what its ideology and vision is.
But there was more to just defining the concept of a Manifesto. Along with PAI co-ordinators, Ms Priyashree Andley, Mr Venkatesh, the interns went on to analyse the relevance of a manifesto, the difference it creates in the minds of voters and if it can have a constricting effect on the party. A pool of opinions from interns determined how a manifesto in today’s generation is highly irrelevant since not many resort to reading through all the pages. However, a few interns believed that manifestos are very important in order to facilitate a more accountable government to the citizens.
Analysing and contrasting the National Manifestos of BJP, Congress and AAP, interns were able to channelize priorities set by each party and the aim and mission that it stood for as well as how each party chooses a different methodology to tackle a particular issue.
Blogs by interns:
Decoding the MANIFESTO! by Medha.M.Ghatge
From the very beginning of the internship, our interns were associated with the Together With Nandan Team in executing door-to-door campaigns for Nandan Nilekani around South Bangalore. This provided our interns to interact with many professionals who devote their time to campaigning in spite of their busy work schedule and also learn a different form of campaigning by visiting various homes and urging them to vote for a better candidate.
“Wherever we went, residents were very receptive and happy that we were going around and promoting Mr Nandan. A few of them also asked if they could help us out with these campaigns.” Mariam Daniels, Political Action Intern
Collaborating with Nandan’s team, interns volunteered at various Polling booths across South Bangalore. They were expected to help out at the voter registration desks by using the Application designed for voter verification. Along with this, they were also required to engage in voter awareness through which they would ask residents in the area to cast their votes. The initiative taken by our interns and the help they rendered at the desks were well appreciated and served as a great learning experience for them.
“Interacting with so many voters and other party workers gave me an entirely new insight into how and what people think when they set out to cast their votes. Volunteering at a polling booth was by far the best experience I had at PAI.” Deepika Burli, Political Action Intern
Blogs by interns:
Poor Voter Turnout! Who is to blame? by Deepika Burli
The Democratic Darwaza : An Intern’s Experience by G Anju Rao
Since Political Action Internship is a platform to provide a very apolitical perspective to all interns, they were provided with a chance to visit the Jagannatha Bhavan – BJP Office in Bangalore City. Here, they interacted with the campaign and advertising team of BJP. Mr Malthesh Bhat and Ms Aparna Patwardhan discussed with the interns, how important it is to be actively advertising in order to be heard. This also provided a window for interns to learn how different parties strategize their ad-campaigns.
Mr Bhat said: “From the creative side, we hardly spent anything. Every advertisement was conceptualized in house.”
The interns also witnessed Mr Sadananda Gowda, BJP MP candidate for Bangalore North and the former Chief Minister of Karnataka, rally in Malleshwaram.
While interacting with the interns at a National News Broadcasting channel’s talk show, Mr Ashwath Narayan, , BJP MLA in Malleshwaram Assembly Constituency, Bangalore, said:
“Differences are born to the game of politics. We must make sure that we do not escape from responsibility and own up to our positives andnegatives, which can only happen with strong political will and leadership. Modi is one of the biggest solutions in this favour.”
Known for his transformative plans of action towards his assembly constituency Malleswaram, Mr. Narayan understands the need for inquiry and clarity. The Political Action Interns caught up with him, talking about the nuances and limitations of the political system.
Blogs by interns:
Political Action Internship is not just all about serious politicking; it definitely gives way to enjoy the activities of politics as much as possible. With this notion, our interns were encouraged to participate in the Dance against Corruption conducted by Aam Aadmi Party in Brigade Road, Bangalore. It was an experience of a kind for it was a completely different campaigning style our interns had been exposed to.
The interns interacted at length with Prof Babu Mathew, theAam Aadmi Party MP Candidate from Bangalore North.
“I do believe Bangalore is a city filled with brilliant individuals who are experts in various fields, what if we gather these experts, brainstorm and work out solutions for all these problems that we face?”
Prof Babu Mathew, discussed the importance of being one amongst the people and fight for the people. Political Action Interns interacted with him and were answered to on the basis of transparency and accountability, easy accessibility, women safety, reservations for minorities, establishment of shadow corporators and also an initiative that involve citizens to work with politicians to brainstorm and find solutions for the various predicaments that are encountered.
Political Action Interns were given an opportunity to interact with AAP spokesperson Mr. Prithvi Reddy during an event hosted by Doordarshan. Mr. Reddy provided an insight into how the party has been doing and what are the chances for the same. He also highlighted the difficulties faced by the party on the monetary front, but was optimistic that candidates could make-do with limited funds and even then gain popularity.
“Even if AAP doesn’t stand a chance this time, we have been quite successful in inspiring other parties to only include clean politicians and candidates in their parties,” he said.
To gain a better insight on the dynamics of the social media usage in the current elections, Mr Zeeshan Patel, Social Media in-charge of Aam Aadmi Party and an intern at Political Action Internship shared his experience with us. Zeeshan interacted with the rest of the interns on how a social media page should be run, at exactly what time should each post be published on the page, how many posts would be published in a day and finally, how important is it to ‘Share’ a particular post.
“It is very important to understand viewers’ perceptions while we post anything on our Social Media pages. We need to keep in mind simple facts like at approximately what time people would come online and view those posts to ensure greater reach,” mentioned Mr Patel.
30% of politicians have pending criminal cases and about 14% are fighting serious charges like murder, rape, forgery, inciting hate and dubious deals
The active participation and presence of criminals in Politics is indeed a setback to the entire democratic system in the country. Considering this fact, the Political Action Internship conducted a session which gave the interns closer to the flipside of the political world.
Sharing a talk with all the young interns, Ms Bhargavi Raman, Advocate and PAI Co-ordinator journeyed through the jargon of the multi-crore scams and criminalization of politics. All interns were engaged with Ms Raman in this two-hour long conversation during which, they came across some startling facts and figures pertaining to Criminals in Politics.
Coming from a Law background, Ms Raman also shared the provisions and amendments made to help clean up electoral processes in the country. She illuminated The Representation of Peoples’ Act and gave an in-depth description of how sub-section 4 or Section 8 of the Act was significantly declared unconstitutional.
“The presence of criminals in politics has become a matter that concerns all citizens. There is a lot more to this black spot in our political system which cannot be determined until serious action is taken to probe into it,” stated Ms Bhargavi Raman.