VIRTUAL ELECTION CAMPAIGNING
COVID-19 has been the biggest enabler of the digital way of life and has finally created a new age, which can termed as the Digital Immersion Age. The nature of transformation which all IT behemoths could not make it happen in last two decades happened automatically, with the onset of COVID-19. Nearly every single activity became digital. The earth-shattering experiences was of work from home, continues to be so, now as well, with office becoming a relic of the past. The physical Covid care was ably supported around the world by war rooms, softwares and apps. The vaccination program is also fully dependent on it. It was only because of this technology that the world could maintain a bit of sanity in the mayhem, which became our fate. An offline life became unimaginable. Marriages became literally links.
If last to last year, had somebody talked of a fully online school, he would have been looked at, with disdain. This became the reality the world over. Some respite midway and the schools and colleges became super spreaders. The only way out is to have robust technology to take care of all our needs, with as little physical contact as possible. In America, Brazil, Western Europe and India combined, it has been difficult to make out the surges and troughs. Right approach, action and behavior are all well known by now. Political activities and ramshackle governmental functioning, where functioning fully digital is abhorred, had added to the already complex COVID-19 conundrum. Elections have for ages meant the breakdown of anything sensible, how can it be any different now.
Elections are quintessential to the existence of the politicians and political parties. Five years of power or bereft of it. COVID-19 and its impact seem inconsequential to them. Who is bothered about the hospital beds and the patients gasping for breath? Everything is fair in love, war and politics and that too, all political parties combined. It is an all-out war against the masses. They have eased to exist. Those who talk about COVID-19 appropriate behavior are the first to address a public meeting of thousands and lakhs of voters. What a hypocrisy and what a dichotomy in the treatment of health of the common man. Power at the cost of the health of the voter. Why can’t campaigning be virtual? Does it need any rocket science to understand this?
If everything can happen online, what is so great about an election. Anyway, all political parties spend lots of funds on digital marketing / social media, the situation now warranted to shift to fully virtual mode, lock, stock and barrel. The Election Commission of India utilizing extensive powers under Article 324 of the Constitution could have completely changed the rules of the game, to align with the current harsh realities of our precarious existence. Political parties could have kept complaining till the time the cows came home. Ideally, given the pathbreaking software and digital prowess we boast of, this was once in a lifetime chance to have moved the elections, once and for all to the digital mode. Archaic EVMs could have given way to a cutting edge, AI enabled elections, conducted from the cloud; tamperproof, dynamic and real time with inbuilt automated counting.
TIME TO PUT TO TEST OUR ELECTIONS AND DEMOCRACY TO THE NEED OF THE HOUR.