ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Professionalising Election Campaigns

The 2014 and 2019 general elections in India were referred to as “WhatsApp elections,” which had IT cells, bots, and political consultants strategically using data mining tools to build resonant narratives to tell voters what they wanted to hear. By the 2014 national election, the industry was reported to be worth $40–$47 million. Between 2014 and 2018, industry specialists approximated that the number of firms in this market had at least doubled. These unprecedented tools of technological campaigning come with new forms of identifying, targeting, and defining issues of political importance. This article suggests that such developments are turning electoral politics into a thriving business being data-driven, technologically oriented, and having far-reaching implications for democratic processes.

Big Data, Bigger Lies

The claim that the government will use big data analytics to trace those who illegitimately deposited old currency notes, is just another instance of using lies to score political points. Notwithstanding this hollow posturing, the way this government is talking about the power of big data and its uses, only confirms the worst fears of the misuse of Aadhaar and other public data entrusted to the state.
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