We conduct political action internships in order to give youth exposure to political and civic activities so they develop a genuine interest in stimulating change. Youth networks raise active support and awareness for politicians, and working together with politicians creates an effective means of dialogue, bridging the gap between the two.
Political Action Internship, April 2013
The Political Action Internship was conducted in April 2013. The internship enabled youngsters to engage with the realities of democratic and political process during the assembly elections in Karnataka. It was a unique programme that allowed interns to understand the complexities and dynamics of elections, including rules around filing nominations, door-to-door campaigning, analysing constituencies, researching political trends, introduction to psephology, pre and post-poll analyses, social media campaigning, liaising with the press and serving as counting agents.
The internship was very successful as it included two components, a Campaign Internship lasting the duration of the actual campaign period and a Strategy Internship that included a variety of pre-election discussions, seminars and debates. The internship started with a two-day orientation seminar which included talks on the elements of the election process, urban issues, a brief history of politics in the region, an introduction to opinion polling as well as the team joining a B-PAC march that coincided with the first day of the internship. Soon after, interns found themselves on the campaign trail. Interns were able to understand the intense dynamics of public support, party policies, election rules and expenses as well as the role of mainstream media. The internship gave youth a chance to have their opinions heard by politicians, policy makers, media and the voters at large.
In order to build bridges between the political class and society, a series of events were also conducted that allowed MLAs to interact with local people, including entrepreneurs, journalists, students, IT professionals. Drawing up towards the dates of polling and counting, interns conducted internal pre-poll surveys, with remarkable accuracy in their estimations of the number of seats different parties would secure. The internship was very efficacious as it focused on sustainability and development of society with special focus on democratic processes.