As the greatest spectacle of the year, the Indian elections came to an end, and as Narendra Modi was sworn in, the nation reverberated with a sense of hope.
In an attempt to decode and revisit elections in the world’s largest democracy, our intern Shreeja Mahambre takes a closer look at it.
The 16th Lok Sabha elections this year were a colourful and dramatic affair. For the first time, the youth were interested in the political happenings of our country. In the period leading up to the elections newspapers were filled with controversial statements made by politicians and as the elections got closer the statements not only increased but also got more contentious.
The two PM candidates for opposing parties, BJP and Congress, Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi became household names. There were memes, images and videos about the two that were also going viral. In hindsight, the 2014 elections can easily be compared to a cricket World Cup final between India and Pakistan.
It is also safe to say that these were probably one of the most expensive elections in India. With approximately Rs 30,000 crores spent on advertising and PR campaigns, political parties went all out to engage the youth in politics. With the frenzy they managed to create it looked as though the youth were more excited about the elections than politicians themselves. There were scrambles to get voter IDs made in time for the elections and who can forget ‘fingies’ – finger selfies that were constantly being posted by voters on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
There were also quite a few new additions to the polling system this time. One among them is the inclusion of NOTA (None of the Above) option to the election ballots. This basically implied that if the people weren’t satisfied with a certain candidate or party they had the choice of letting them know by voting NOTA. There was also a new entrant into constantly growing world of politics in India. The Aam Aadmi Party, headed by Arvind Kejrival, made attempts to woo people but to no avail. While the party won the people over in Punjab, they failed to make an impact in the rest of the country.
Quite a few famous faces contested in these elections. Kiron Kher, Gul Panag, Vinod Khanna, Shatrugan Sinha, Hema Malini and Raj Babbar were some of them.
On the day of elections in Mumbai, getting inked was everyone’s motto. It spite of the unforgiving heat, people went out to cast their vote. Maybe it was the thrill of voting for the first time or maybe the lack of a good government instigated the voter turnout and the change. But, in the end their efforts paid off; the people were handed the change they wished to see.
The Congress-BJP rivalry was met with Modi’s landslide win. The nation rejoiced on 16 May as Modi’s face was plastered across all news channels, there were celebrations in the streets and congratulatory messages were everywhere. The country rejoiced as if it had won over some great evil.
The internet played a very important role in the success of the elections this year. One of the main reasons why the people, especially the youth, became so interested in politics was because of the Rahul Gandhi memes and the BJP ‘Ab Ki Baar….’ slogans. Not only in India but the election results were also broadcast in Times Square in New York and many other different news channels across the globe.
Truly, the Indian Lok Sabha elections were one of a kind. It was an election complete with a lot of firsts, but more importantly, it has been one that caused a much needed change in governance.
– Shreeja Mahambre
Image Credit- tribune.com.pk