COVID-19 may change election scene forever
Digital campaigning may replace big rallies; handbills and pamphlets are likely to return
- The absence of a vaccine or therapeutic intervention against the disease has necessitated a long period of physical distancing and sanitary measures, will change the great Indian poll circus forever.
- However, caution that the manner of campaigning and polling must reflect the changed reality.
- There seems to be no question whether big rallies of the past will be able to survive this disease. Without mass vaccination, organising big rallies would be a hazard.
- More digital campaigning, and micro, man-to-man marking gaining ground. With the digital, a return of the print, that is, handbills and pamphlets which used to be distributed a lot in the past.
- The campaign would have to shift to the digital sphere, but expressed more concern over the polling part of the electoral exercise.
- The main question is never the technology, but the ways in which it can be subverted, and how to ensure the integrity of the process.
- There are many ways of reaching out to the people, and the devise technology to ensure that proximity is not a factor in polling.
- Our voters list is not updated, we were hoping that the new census exercise with its extensive use of technology would lead to a better set of data. To a large extent the connection between the voters list, Aadhaar number and mobile phones should be attempted. It stands at barely 30% now and needs to be extended.
New trends in elections
- It is no longer enough to play the identity card, it is a trend for many elections now that delivery on welfare and development matters a lot.
- After the COVID-19 outbreak and the role of governments being assessed so closely, this trend will completely overshadow identity politics.
- The next big election in India is the Assembly election in Bihar due in October-November.
- If it takes place on time, it will be the precursor to just how a pandemic affects electoral democracy.