Indian political discourse is experiencing an interesting phase and for the first time in decades, politics and politicians are being taken seriously and followed closely. Indian public is aware of the political issues across country and have a point of view on most of the issues. Most importantly, the citizen has realised the relevance of elections and its impact in politics and governance. They have slowly started realising the soft power of their votes and are carefully exercising this new found power.
Ironically, urban Indian is suffering from “electoral inertia”. Electoral Inertia can be defined as a syndrome/mindset where a qualified voter wants everything from their elected government like a wish fulfilling genie but shows disinterest or disregard to the electoral process. This attitude is portrayed either by not enrolling for a voter ID or showing a lackadaisical approach during elections by not voting and sometimes not knowing the candidates who are standing for elections in their ward/constituency and worst is not understanding the manifesto of parties and its impact on their respective ward/constituency. The country needs an antidote/therapy for this syndrome.
From 2018, Bengaluru has entered the “electoral-hatrick year” which is a unique situation where for the next three years Bengalureans will vote for three consecutive years at three different levels i.e. Vidhan Sabha in 2018, Lok Sabha in 2019 and BBMP/Mayoral in 2020. This is a very rare scenario occurring for the second time previously being 2013, 2014 and 2015. These three years indicate an electorally active and enthusiastic polity who will not leave any stone unturned to capture the attention of their voters. Similarly, even the voters must be equally active and aware so that they get over the electoral inertia and choose the right leaders who can deliver their needs through the wonderful process of elections. So bring the above plan to fruition someone has to facilitate the bridge building process.
Bangalore Political Action Committee (B.PAC), a nonpartisan “not for profit” trust working towards a better Bengaluru has initiated the Participatory Democracy Program (PDP), which proposes to strengthen this political engagement, promote greater citizen participation and constant interaction with the bureaucracy through sustainable and good governance propositions for building a safe, green and vibrant Bengaluru enhancing the quality of citizens’ life. Under the aegis of the PDP initiative B.PAC offers a comprehensive strategy to address the issue of “electoral inertia”.
India is culturally synonymous with festivities and there is always large participation in any Indian festival across demographics. We celebrate deities, animals, elements, births and even death, seasons and sometimes a long period which ushers positive changes like the Karthika month. Using the same context, B.PAC wants to celebrate democracy through a festival, Election Habba.
Election Habba is an election awareness campaign that celebrates the electoral process of this country. It is a campaign designed to seamlessly connect all the aspects of an electoral process that play a decisive role in the formation of an elected government. It also seeks active participation and involvement of all stakeholders i.e. citizens, local communities civil society, corporate associations, welfare associations, candidates of the democratic process, thus far who have been working in islands. In the end, it tries to usher in a new era of electoral politics of having a well informed and enthusiastic voters leading to good governance through election of committed and responsible leaders.
Election Habba aims to