Political Action Internship II, April-May 2014
The Political Action Internship II, 2014 was a three-week long internship that provided an insider’s look into the political process during the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections. Under the mentorship of Prof Rajeev Gowda, interns learned the art and craft of practical politics.
Planned and executed prior to the General Elections in May 2014, the internship started off on the 29 March, 2014. Through the course of the internship, Prof. Gowda encouraged interns to explore the ideas of technology-enabled elite in politics, the divide between educated urban middle class and rural voters, the nature of political mobilization by candidates and parties and the changing face of media today, among others.
Interns gained first-hand knowledge about how an election campaign works, from the initial phase of strategizing, campaigning and finally to exit polls and voting pattern analysis. They also explored how media portrayed candidates during past elections, the growing influence of various social media channels on larger electoral campaigns.
The internship also included several field activities such as door-to-door campaigning with key MP candidates like Nandan Nilekani from Bangalore South and Rizwan Arshad from Bangalore Central, explaining their vision to the people. Interns also participated in B.PAC-led voter awareness drives and mock parliament debates; along with party manifesto analysis. The internship provided many forums for brainstorming and debates on whether people vote for parties or candidates, and whether urban constituencies are conducive for change in traditional politics. The interns also got exclusive access to press conferences held at the KPCC and BJP headquarters.
Along with interactions with politicians and candidates, the interns also had an opportunity to gain knowledge from many experts like Dr Sandeep Shastri, Pro Vice Chancellor, Jain University and CNN-IBN panelist; Vijay Grover, Former Editor, News X and Founder of Pledge to Vote; Sridhar Pabbisetty, Chief Operating Officer of the Centre for Public Policy, IIM Bangalore and member of Lok Satta party, among many more.
The internship catered a platform for encouraging citizen journalism and emphasized focus on media tracking, designing and implementing visual campaigns, content generation through videography, photography and social media campaigning. Brand Experts like Harish Bijoor, Brand Consultant and Ajit Phadnis, Research Associate, IIM-B and Founding member of Lok Satta Party, addressed the interns focusing on political advertising, brand management and electoral mobilization through social media. Interns learned, interacted and were responsible for generating creative content for the various campaigns and write articles on issues raising voter awareness and the nature of electoral campaigns.
On the whole, Political Action Internship aimed to provide a holistic experience about politics to the youth and open new doors to make way for the budding generation. Through the course of the internship the interns documented their experiences on a blog.
Being a Political Action Intern and involving myself in this kind of a venture has opened new doors to understanding and analysing politics. Although the scenario given to us was more or less sugar-coated, the candid talks we had with the many personalities from the field gave us a clearer picture. It is hard to accept that this journey like every other has to come to an end, but learning more about politics is a never ending experience and I am grateful to the Political Action Internship for having kick started this learning process for me and many others.
I have always been fond of politics. Politics involves a lot of dynamism. It has always been a dream to know how parties work before and after elections. This dream came true with this internship. The orientation filled me with enthusiasm and energy. It broadened my horizon immensely. There was so much I did not know about governance. When I came across Political Action Internship, I did not want to miss it. It came as a blessing. It gave me an opportunity to explore the field of politics, campaigns and elections. I consider this as my first step towards gaining knowledge related to politics.