India is going to vote and elect representatives for the 15th Lok Sabha (the Lower House of the Indian Parliament) from 16th April 2009. Any election time (and this is the General Election time!) is characterized by launching of party manifestoes and promises that promise the world to the general public.
But this year, the election campaigning is drastically different from that of the previous years. The Information Technology is omnipresent and what a powerful presence! From party web designing, to online campaigning, to freebies that include smart phones, laptops, IT enabled jobs in rural areas, and so on.
Impressed by the success achieved through ICT value addition in the Barack Obama election campaign, Indian politicians are also going high tech and using the World Wide Web to their full advantage and so are their supporters. There are communities like the “Indian National Congress” on the facebook. One of the major contenders, The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) is using FLOSS to cut its web designing and online campaigning costs.
And now, another big sop from the BJP! Vikas Pathak from Hindustan Times (one of India’s leading newspapers; dated March 14, 2009, page 9) reports that “It (BJP) will give every family below the poverty line a free smart mobile phone, a laptop for Rs. 10,000 and a subsidized broadband connection to let the poor surf the World Wide Web.”
This promise was made by the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate, Mr. L. K., Advani during the release of party’s “IT Vision Document for Transforming India, Empowering Bharat”. The BJP has also promised 1.2 crore IT enabled jobs in rural India, which calculates to 20 jobs in each of India’s six lakh (600, 000) villages.
So, it looks like “IT for masses” has arrived in India (Bharat)!