National Election 2014: In Retrospect, the Highs and the Lows

Written by: Pathikrit
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With one of the most anticipated and crucial elections in the largest democracy of the world coming to an end and with the world waiting with bated breath for the results, it is time now to have a look at certain things in perspective. In the first place, this is not just another election but one which is going to have a deep impact on the future of India's economy, defence preparedness as well as the overall mood in the country which has literally hit the rock bottom over the last few years.

The Hope for Change

The excitement and the enthusiasm that could be witnessed among both the veteran voters as well as the first timers has been unique and is a victory of India's vibrant democracy. Irrespective of the outcome of the election, an important aspect of this election has been involvement of the youth of this country in not just voting but also being involved in the electoral process including campaigning.

What has been unprecedented is the large number of educated professionals who otherwise for several years now had been disenchanted with the electoral and political process. This election has witnessed thousands of professionals opting for sabbatical from their job or profession and engaging in canvassing for political parties. In this respect BJP does lead the race in terms of engaging the professionals for social media campaigning and outreach programs followed by AAP.

The presidential form of campaigning

The other key element of this election is surely the presidential form that India's national election has taken shape of. The entire campaign of the NDA was based around Narendra Modi and it certainly hit the right chord with their target audience.

In fact, such has been the impact of this campaign that most of the other political alignments were rattled by the success of BJP led NDA in galvanising its supporters around Narendra Modi and making a successful pitch for change.

In certain respect it can be stated that this is going to be a game changer so far as future national elections in India are concerned. The possibility of the future national elections eventually following this trend is highly likely.

The impressive role of the social media

This apart, what stands out for this election is the spectacular role played by social media in terms of not just creating awareness and emerging as a key medium for promotion by political parties, but also the stellar role played by the social media in terms of mobilising people to go to vote.

For long, it has been a norm that educated professionals do not go to vote and rather enjoy the voting day as a holiday. However, this time the trend has been broken by the large number of young professionals opting to vote for change.

The buoyant mood and the sense of achievement amongst the voters, many of whom had not voted in the past, was certainly a major plus point for this election and for this much of the credit would have to go to the social media.

The role played by the social media was a high point of Lok Sabha election 2014

Selfies of voters with the ink mark on their fingers have become a major hit. This time one could even witness a considerable number of NRIs returning to India to vote. Even within the country a considerable number of professionals even took leave to go to their hometown to vote.

Those who could not vote for some or the other reason played their part by making sure that their family members go and vote. The social media is imbued with such stories.

In many ways, social media including Twitter and Facebook have made the mainstream media redundant and have exposed their bias.

Many of the political parties who had initially scoffed off the idea of social media as a gimmick eventually were found panting for breath in their quest to do the catching game as they realised the enormous potential of the social media of swinging a significant proportion of young voters. BJP, in this respect, had the first mover advantage followed by AAP.

It is for sure that those who would be losing this election would to a great extent blame the social media's role in engineering it. UPA has never been too comfortable with social media and the reasons are obvious.

Poll related Violence however remains a blot

However, on the flip side, even as India's vibrant democracy continues to reflect its charisma, issues of poll related violence has been a major blot. In many places, poll clashes continued to take lives even in this election.

This apart, Maoists continued with their mayhem and killed several policemen during election days. Voter intimidation too is still far from over. It seems India still has a long way to go to make elections a completely seamless and peaceful program.

A sad saga of this election has also been the verbal animosity that continued from beginning till the end. An election which started with the core theme of change for good governance eventually got reduced to personal attacks and mudslinging.

The Way ahead: Good governance to repose faith in democracy

With exit polls of several television channels showing indications of a clear mandate to Narendra Modi led NDA and with results barely a few days away, it is for sure that hectic parlays are going on behind the curtains for post poll alliances.

Nevertheless, in a few days' time as a new government would take oath, it would have to keep up to the expectation of the crores of voters who reposed their faith in democracy by creating new record of voting in this election.

Policy making and serious governance would have to be a norm than an exception and rule of law has to precede everything else. It is only then that true justice would be done to dance of democracy India witnessed in the month long election.

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