Election Time — Photos and Promises
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 31 Jul 2023
The social media in India is inventive and active especially during election periods. Their focus is on strange and absurd events — take photographs and display them on their media highlighting unusual and funny situations to get publicity. How does it help to get noticed on the media? On many occasions some ads of products or places for travel (vacays — vacations) etc are also publicised with clearly mentioned names of destinations and their financial costs. More ads, more publicity.
Most of middle class or rich families do like to travel to different places, enjoying themselves and sometimes making new friends and taking photographs of themselves in attractive places. These are proudly shared with neighbours and friends. Unfortunately sometimes accidents also occur with people taking selfies of themselves in unusual poses. But despite the fear of accidents, people continue to get themselves photographed in tricky poses. The lure of sharing such photos with friends or the social media, overcomes the fear of any mishap occurring.
India has 28 states which have their own state level governments with a Chief Minister at the helm of each state. Many of these states also have BJP (Bharatiya Janta Party) led governments just as at the central government level, the Prime Minister, Mr Modi (also belonging to BJP) heading the government.
Whatever the party which is ruling at the state level (BJP or some other state level political party), there is a political environment that favours one or another party coming to power after election results.
With a large number of states having elections, several parties have to promise development and lower degree of inflation, etc if their candidates come to power, post elections. Some make other promises — building roads or highways, increasing employment opportunities, building more schools, improving agriculture and several other similar features for the betterment of the local populations. Of course, occasionally there is bitterness between different parties that comes to the fore, for making grand promises. This often happens when parties represent one or the other religious group.
As indicated above, there is a lot of publicity making promises to the electorate. Sometimes individual contestants make their own promises in addition to those being made by the party chiefs. These promises generally are well articulated to make them appear sincere. Occasionally, funny photographs appear of Individual contestants. One contestant displayed a photo of a man running wearing ladies’ high heel sandals with the caption that he supports people of both genders. Another showed a photo of himself surrounded by several dogs to demonstrate his love of animals. Whether local populations are swayed by such photos becomes apparent only after the election results are announced.
Various political parties have spokesmen appearing in the media making promises and demonstrating the suitability of their contestants. If their candidates win, all the better. If they do not win, even then, serious discussions are held in the media guaranteeing their commitment for the welfare of the local populations. Such promises will stand in good stead in the future.
From what has been written above, politics plays a major role in the media just as it does in reality. Various political parties and individuals appreciate the role of media — newspapers, posters, television. In addition, road shows in important cities allow more direct contacts between contestants and the public.
Many people argue that electioneering and these road shows are physically and financially burdensome. This is becoming true in India, unlike what used to happen earlier. One must have enough strength, money and followers to participate in elections otherwise it is best to stay at home and watch the goings on from the comfort of one’s home.
The lessons of electioneering and contesting elections are clearly visible. If you have physical and financial strength take part in elections, otherwise give up the thought of contesting elections. You may watch them as a journalist and enjoy some unexpected humour that is part of the political scenery.
Dr Ravi P Bhatia is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, an educationist, Gandhian scholar and peace researcher. Retired professor, Delhi University. His new book, A Garland of Ideas—Gandhian, Religious, Educational, Environmental was published recently in Delhi. email@example.com
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 31 Jul 2023.
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