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Eight reasons why this is the most interesting election ever

Tuesday, 8 April 2014 - 8:47pm IST | Agency: dna

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“New” is the buzzword that defines this election

1.    New Faces: This is the national debut of all three possible Prime Minister candidates: NarendraModi of the BJP, Rahul Gandhi of the INC and ArvindKejriwal of AAP. The Indian voter has to judge them on a clean slate, without even a central cabinet position to judge upon. 

2.    New Ideas: The current campaign has become a clash between powerful ideas - BJP’s platform of development, Congress’s platform of Secularism and AAP’s platform of anti-corruption. 

3.    New Voters: This is the largest election yet with over 800 million registered voters. There are over 23 million first time voters in the 18-19 year bracket. Women issues have gained visibility nationally. There are over 200 urban constituencies in this election, the highest yet.

4.    New Campaign styles: The AamAdmi party engaged in famous door-to-door campaigns all over Delhi, with volunteers and candidates taking to the streets to interact extensively with common folk. NarendraModi used technology to hold conversations over tea with 1000+ locations across India. Rahul Gandhi started roadshows with small groups of people across the country to understand their problems better. The old methods of rathyatras seem left far behind. 

5.    New Alliances: It has been traditional in India to form coalitions after election results are out. For the first time, a Third Front has been formed before. Parties that were traditionally allies, like the BJP and the JDU in Bihar have broken away. Possible ruling formations at the center post-elections are more unpredictable than they have ever been.

6.    New Technology: Twitter, Facebook, Websites, mobile and SMS-based campaigning have all featured heavily in campaigning. NarendraModi and ArvindKejriwal are perpetually trending in social media. Now even TV channels have jumped into the fray and TV debates are being run in real time via Twitter. 

7.    New Rules: For the first time, Indian voters will exercise their Right to Reject all candidates in their constituencies. By choosing the NOTA (None of the Above) option we will for the first time be able to accurately assess the Indian citizens confidence in the government. While this will represent an opinion, it also considered a waste of a vote since it would not bring us any closer to a clear winner and mandate. 

8.    New Limelight: The eyes of the world are on the Indian elections. With India’s economy at a low point and the glow of the Indian growth story fading, all major countries and businesses are watching the elections to see who will steer the Indian ship next.

Tanvi Ratna (@ThePolicyGirl) is a policy analyst and author of "VoteSmart: The New Voter's Guide to the Elections." Her writing can be accessed at www.tanviratna.com

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