World’s biggest democracy, India is headed towards the second half of the 17th Loksabha election. While many have cast votes and many are yet to, we have seen a major shift in election trends. From presidential style elections to social media reach (and trolls too), reaching out to individual voters over various channels, using video conferencing, and many other, we have come a long way.
Presidential Style elections
One of the major changes that we have seen is the Presidential style elections. India did have many Prime ministerial candidates declared before elections in the past. People are looking for someone who is decisive and able to take a commanding stand on issues. While Manmohan Singh was a great economist and he was nowhere near, being an authoritative decision maker. What Narendra Modi showed in the 2014 election and is continuing in 2019 is showcasing his astute thinking and Visionary leadership.
The pertinent question here is, Is India the only country moving towards a commanding and decisive leadership? If you look at world leadership shift, may it be USA or Israel, or any other democracies, a similar trend is being observed. If you look at the world’s top leaders like Trump, Trudeau, Merkel or Modi, they share similar qualities of being Compassionate, Visionary, Pragmatic and most importantly have a high emphasis on networking. Next generation leaders may just have to follow these footsteps.
Influence of Social Media
The second major shift is the use of Social media. Being a densely populated country reaching out to every individual is highly improbable. Social media has become a means of connecting on a very personal level. Not only this Social media enables providing information on the go. Through this Social media, leaders can now live stream their thoughts across geographic locations. simultaneously also keep people posted about their successful projects through these means.
Though social media comes with its flip side, anything and everything mentioned by any leader is measured and judged. Leaders can no more afford to be lenient in their speech and behaviors, may it be in their offices or traveling in airplanes. And if you believe being lenient in talking is fine, there is a flood of social media trolls coming your way. There is definitely no denying on social media having the power to control the outcome of the results (This again has been an ongoing controversy for the USA elections of 2016).
Active participation by the people of India has been the third major shift. The voter turnout has increased by close to 10 percentage point compared to the last election. In a massively populated country like India, 10 percentage is a very huge number. Though in the history we have seen voter turnout of close to 64%, the population around that era was 2/3rd of the current population. Not only is the common man active in voting, but has been active in other functions and aspects like agenda being set by the political parties. People no more want to have false promises and the same age-old hopes of food and electricity. They are looking for tangible results. General awareness if could be measured, would be at an all-time high.
Only time will tell how much this shift in Indian electoral is going to be fruitful. However, this change that Indian democracy has witnessed in the last decade is setting an example for the rest of the world.