|Off Laxmi Road, Pune|
The Indian Parliaments House of Commons ( Loksabha) will come up for elections soon. India is the worlds largest democracy. It also has a very diverse population. 16 odd official languages. 44 odd dialects. At least five major religions. ( Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Christianity and Judaism.). In the last fifteen years at least 5 additional states have been created from the original 24 (!?).
Multiple poliical parties exist. The top two currently are the BJP and the Congress. The current Govt Of India is ruled by a majority of the Congress party. The Congress parties last five years have been marked primarily by huge corruption scandals. The BJP, that used to be in power before, is ideologically linked to Hindu fundamentalists. India will go to the polls soon.
So....I had an interesting visit by two middle aged ladies this Sunday afternoon. They told me they were taking a public poll. They mentioned a electoral roll. Asked if I was a registered voter ( I am) and then asked me to answer questions about using the internet to cast my vote. Turns out they work for a marketing agency. They then asked me some perfunctory questions about my internet use and inclination to use the internet for elections. Rather cunningly, the questions then turned course towards asking me for my facebook ID, my email, inclination to get political information via email etc. Of course I did not give them any details. The next set of questions asked me to list "Political issues" based on my concerns. eg. "Corruption", "Access to education" , "Infrastructure" etc. Then a variety of questions about religious preferences etc. I bluntly told them I was done answering any more questions about my political views or religious. They were quite nice about it. They said they come to our neighbourhood often. Wished me and left. Looks like Indian politics is learning fast from the west. And with resources to spare, as India gets more affluent, such relatively sophisticated means of getting information and selling it to political parties seem to be on the rise.