The interns began their Sunday with B-PAC’s voter awareness drive led by Mr Nataraj Gowda. Following which, interns came back and worked at Studio Chaape on their political parties social media page. In the evening, interns participated in “Dance against Corruption”, the mega AAP event.
The day began by a guest lecture session by Mr. Ajit Phadnis, a Ph.D. Student from IIMB and an advisor to the Loksatta Party, Karnataka. Mr Phadnis, analysed various political parties manifestos and also marked our in-house political party- the Jan Seva Party and the Stable Table Party- elections Manifestos and also marked them.
Post lunch, the interns worked on Data Analysis and Voting Patterns- combining the voter perception with the existing poll data to make their own predictions.
The interns began their day by having a guest lecture session with Mr Harish, a lawyer, on the constitutional framework of our democracy.
Following which, the interns presented their party’s political advertisements- Information Ad, Persuasion Ad, Attack Ad, Positive Ad. Prof Gowda presided over the presentation and also marked them on their performance. The interns presented their advertisements in the following formats: theatrics, video, musical jingles, picture presentation and cartoons.
The morning began with excitement and cameras- the interns participated in a Times Now discussion where they questioned and interacted with Bangalore Central MP candidates. The interns then had a personal discussion with DrAshwath Narayan, BJP MLA for Malleshwaram constituency, who was representing Mr PC Mohan, Bangalore Central MP candidate at the talk show.
Back in the studio, the interns worked on their political party manifesto.
In the afternoon, few of the interns witnessed Mr Anand Sharma’s, Union Minister for Industry and Textile, press conference and also got a chance to have an interaction with him.
The morning session started with interns gaining an in-depth understanding on ‘Criminals in Politics’. They had a two hour long discussion with Ms Bhargavi Raman, NLS Graduate.
Post lunch, the interns participated in BPAC’s ‘Candidates meet Citizens’ event for Bangalore North. A few of them helped B-PAC’s team in organizing the event. After listening to various Bangalore North MP candidates- Mr C Narayanswamy (Congress), Mr Azam(JD(S)) and Prof Babu Mathew (AAP)- vision for their constituency, the interns interacted with Prof Babu Mathew, AAP Candidate for Bangalore North. The had a one-on-one conversation for him and understood his stand on various topics- from reservation to women’s safety to industrial growth and capitalization.
Few of our interns also got a chance to interact with Mr T Mohandas Pai.
The interns gained a basic understanding of the term ‘Manifesto’ and following which, they participated in Manifesto analysis with Prof Rajeev Gowda, Ms Priyashree and Mr Venkatesh. A manifesto can be visualised as a document that is embedded with declarations, promises, agendas, missions or the master plan of a particular political party.
From debating upon the merits and demerits of Congress, BJP and AAP manifesto to asking various questions about our electoral process, the interns had a two hour long discussion with Prof Gowda.
In the evening, few of our interns went to Mr Narendra Modi’s public rally in Bangalore while others participated in Doordarshan news talk show with Prof Gowda discussing youth and politics. At this event, interns also got a chance to interact with Mr Prithvi Reddy, AAP political leader in Karnataka state.
The interns had a brainstorming session and they formulated their Vision for Bangalore City. High on their agenda is Achieving 8% economic growth within 3 years strengthning Public Private Partnership, Formulating tax waivers, Introducing special tax incentives in the IT sector, Expanding health,education and infrastructure among many others.
On this day, interns also got an opportunity to participate in Mr Rahuk Gandhi, INC Vice President’s, public rally in Bangalore city. The interns heard first hand about Mr Gandhi’s vision for India where women received equal opportunities as men, where every Indian citizen were empowered through the various government schemes. It was a fruitful day for many, as for the first time they went to a political public rally.
The interns attended B-PAC’s “Candidate meets the Citizen”series where they participated in an interactive session with Bangalore Central MP candidates across all parties. Post the talk, the interns had a one-to-one interaction with Ms Nandini Alva, the Janta Dal (Secular) candidate. Ms Alva inspired the young interns and spoke to them about her vision for a better Bangalore city.
The interns introduced two political parties- the Jan Seva Party and the Stable Table Paty- and they put forth the party ideologies and their party symbol. The interns also interacted with Zeeshan, social media co-ordinator for AAP and Mr Rajath DM. It was an interesting session where the interns learned about the dynamics of a social media campaign. The interns had an interactive session with them and the speakers shared their practical experiences of using social media in the political landscape.
The interns also interacted with Mr Rizwan Arshad, Bangalore Central Congress MP candidate, post lunch and participated in his on ground campaign.
The 7th day of the Political Action Internship was an interesting day. The interns attended an Introductory session on Media and Politics by Ms. Shruti Kedia. Later, the interns got an opportunity to attend a press conference by Prof Rajeev Gowda at the KPCC office. For most of the interns, this was the first time experience of attending a press conference. Mr. Vijay Grover, former editor of News X broadcast channel and founder of Pledge to Vote organisation, discussed the role of media in elections and the dynamics of opinion polls and surveys. It was an engaging session with Mr Grover sharing with the interns his vast experience in the field of politics and journalism.
Post lunch, the interns had a surprise back at the studio. The Political Action Elections. The interns were divided into two teams and were asked to come up with their parties, symbol and to brainstorm on what they stand for and how to go forward with the election. We’re all very much excited about this, with mock election commission officers, media and code of conduct in place.
On the Day 6, we had an interactive research oriented session on ‘Role of an MP’ , Where we learnt what an MP can do, cannot do and his actual role in parliament. Later, we had a presentation and hands on session on Electoral Data Analysis by Mr. Yash Sripuram and Mr. Sriram. The interns worked on polling data based on previous elections and learnt how to analyse polling patterns. After that, the interns contributed to research work on the performance of previous governments and MPs.
On Day 5, the interns had a brainstorming activity on ‘My MP. My constituency. Our problems. Your Solutions’. Later in the afternoon, the interns attended a political meeting where leaders like SM Krishna, Parameswar among others addressed the crowd and other congress party workers. Later, Mr. Rizwan Arshad, the congress candidate for Bangalore Central met he interns and invited them to his Campaign Office. Interns got an chance to see how a campaign office works and they interacted with Mr. Rizwan, the candidate himself. The interns had a discussion with the candidate about his vision and agenda for Bangalore Central.
On Day 4, the interns attended an Orientation session on door to door campaigning with Nandan Nilekani’s campaign team ‘Together with Nandan’(TWN). The interns had a great experience interacting with the citizens on door to door campaigning and voter confirmation in Bangalore South areas like Koramangala, Basavanagudi and JP Nagar.
The Day 3, was a holiday for Ugadi. Even then, a few of our interns went early in the morning for a campaign event to Coles Park with Prof Rajeev Gowda where they met Candidates from Bangalore North and Central Mr. C Narayanaswamy and Mr. Rizwan Arshad.
Day 2 was in a way filled with crises management. We started the day quite early with B-PAC’s Voter Awareness drive at National Games Village in Kormangala. From making posters to distributing flyers- we were ready and pumped to mobilise people and persuade them to exercise their right to vote.
For 75 minutes, things went smoothly. Slogans in Kannada, English and Hindi were shouted, we spoke to citizens and everyone gave us their space. However, in one apartment complex, an elderly man wasn’t too happy with our presence. Although we went as neutrals, first he misinterpreted us to be a part some political party following which he blamed us for spoiling the decorum and peace of his locality. We interjected, said that we are only here to create awareness, but our pleas were went unheard. We left quietly, after few people from the complex came and informed us that the elder individual was facing some health problems hence, the reason for his behaviour.
Lesson: even when we go out to do something good or noble, there will always be someone/something who would be upset with us. The only solution to this problem is to keep our heads cool and continue our work. Aggressive behaviour when met with anger can only lead to more distress.
With the fear of unknown, 60-65 young individuals (few young in heart) joined Prof Rajeev Gowda’s Political Action Internship. Flagging off with an orientation session, we sat through the lectures- heard the life history about our 67 year old democracy to political branding and social media campaigns.
But the real action began post lunch. We got a taste of an actual parliamentary session at B-PAC’s ‘Candidate meet the Citizens series’. The event was an attempt by B-PAC to have a constructive dialogue between the residents, the voters of Bangalore South with the MP candidates across Party lines- Mr Nandan Nilekani (Congress), Mr Ananth Kumar (BJP), Ms Ruth Manorama (JDS) and Ms Nina Nayak (AAP).However, with constant disruptions and fight among various party supporters, the discussion was halted midway and we got to witness a live verbal and almost a physical fight among audience.
As we had many media and journalism students within our team, few of interns did not waste this opportunity and started to document this unique experience. Few of interns interview who’s who of B-PAC- Ms Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Biocon Chairperson and founder of B-PAC; Mr K Jairaj, ex BBMP Commissioner; Ms Nina Nayak, AAP MP Candidate, Ms Meenakshi Bharat, social activist, Mr Harish Narsappa, founding partner of NDR and Co-founder and President of Daksh organisation among many others.
If we thought that the day was over with the above mentioned drama, we were wrong. Interns got a chance to participate in NDTV’s ‘Roadside Politics’ talk show and few of them even aired their opinion on air.With this the action packed day 1 came to an end. So many thing and less than twelve hours of time. That is Political Action Internship for you.