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Giving youth a voice in the forthcoming elections

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Giving youth a voice in the forthcoming elections

The Indian Institute of Mass Communication conducted its first ever Paper Presentation competition recently, open to students of the current batch in different departments. The brief given to the students was to draw up a communications plans for a new political party for the forthcoming elections with greater emphasis on the use of social and digital media. exchange4media and Pitch magazine were the media partners for the initiative.

Following are excerpts from the winning paper in the Campaign category. The paper was presented by the team comprising students Reva Malhotra, Saransh Jain, Apoorv Saxena and Mohit Pasricha. The team formulated the strategy for a party they decided to name Federation of Liberal Youth.

Name of the Party: Federation of Liberal Youth
Symbol: Dart-Board
Ideology: Right of the center

Primary Research
Due to constraint of time and resources, we conducted an exploratory research or dipstick research on 75 people across different demographic groups and found that the main agenda for any contemporary political party should be growth and development, with an equal emphasis on transparent governance. We asked which issue should be the major concern and priority for a political party aiming to come into the power in 2014 and why. In addition to that, we tried to formulate a list of concerns based on insights gathered through the interviews.

We analysed survey polls conducted across different media (online, telephonic, face-to-face and group discussions) to reach a conclusion that the issues which are of utmost importance to first-time voters and youth, which form a significant chunk of the voting population, are personal and financial security, good governance and development.

Secondary Research
As part of the secondary research, we went through various articles and research reports published in various newspapers and found that this round of elections will be exclusive and unique in the sense that it will be fought on economic issues. Thus, inclusive growth and development is the main issue.

The Election Commission has disclosed that approximately 3.5 lakh voters in the age group of 18-19 years shall exercise their voting right for the first time in the upcoming Delhi State elections, scheduled to be conducted on December 4, 2013. During the 2008 Assembly Elections, this figure was barely 98,000. Other key statistics include:
• Delhi has 16.6 Lakh voters who are in the age group 18-25.
• Earlier, there used to be 788 women per 1000 men and now they have become 803
• Out of the total 1.15 crore voters in Delhi, 54 Lakh are women and the rest are men.
• For the first time in Delhi, the number of female voters to per 1000 of male voters has crossed 800.
• According to several media reports, Delhi has more than 50 lakh active Facebook users. The total no. of active users is 7.1 crores across India which is second largest in the world.
• India is the second-largest mobile phone user with over 900 million users in the world. It accounted for over 10% of the world’s online population in 2011. (Source: Press Information Bureau)
• As per the Delhi Statically Handbook released by Delhi Government, Delhi had 2.83 mobile connections by March 2010.

The very basic insight that we gathered was that the main issue on the minds of the populace is economic development and their wish to elevate the standard of living. Youth are no longer confined to conventional issues on which parties used to polarise their vote bank previously.

• Strong steps would be taken to generate employment by promoting and setting up more entrepreneurial ventures, small scale industries, self help groups and job oriented professional courses.
• Opening up of series of new job-oriented institutions to promote skills ranging from textiles to IT for generating more employment opportunities.
• Strengthening the beat policing system in Delhi and increasing the strength of women police personnel in the police system.
• Adopting Pre-legislative discourse measures before passing any legislation that would enable masses to participate in law making process through an opinion poll or social media voting.
• Setting up of more public grievances stations. This would be an efficient way of addressing public problems that are sick of police, courts and civil authorities.
• Widening the ambit of Citizen Charter following a transparent procedure.
• Delhi has become the crime capital of lndia. Effective steps would be taken to curb crime and ensure security of women and senior citizens.
• 1 lakh housing units would be constructed every year for low income and middle class people. Cooperation of private sector would be sought for this under Public-Private Partnership)
• Water and electricity scarcity would be removed. Safe drinking water would be supplied to all areas.
• All merit institutions will facilitate admissions for students coming from economically weaker sections of society barring those who are covered under the ‘reserved categories.’
• Government sponsored Fair Price shops would be opened to facilitate common man to obtain maximum goods in budget prices.
• Revamping the unorganised sector and safeguarding the interests of people employed under the ‘Dihadi’ system (daily wage labourers).
• Setting up an independent Electricity and Water Regulatory Authority to keep a check on the irregularities practiced by the private players.
• Companies would be forced to discharge treated waste into the rivers to rejuvenate the level of water in rivers and laws will be implemented. Due legislations will be passed to ensure environmental conservation and water regulation.
• Pre-legislative discourse (participation of masses in any legislation that the assembly passes through an opinion poll or social media voting).
• Setting up of more public grievances, stations .This would be an efficient way of addressing public problems who are sick of police, courts and civil authorities.

The party is competing against the Congress, which is currently the ruling party, and BJP, which also targets a similar audience.

Target Audience
Women, the middle class and youth.

Media Options and Strategies:

Out of Home Advertising
• Billboards
• Metro stations
• Delhi Metro –  Women’s compartments shall only have posters pertaining to our commitment towards women’s security
• Bus stops
• Circular Dart Boards (with ‘Vikas’ written in the centre) on kiosks.

• Jingles
• Ads

• Ads with only visuals and voiceover
• Ads with storyline

Street plays, print media, blogs, Facebook, door-to-door campaigning, campaigning in colleges, cinema advertising, marathons

Graffiti/ Wall Paintings – These graffiti shall be made by crowd sourcing at selected public places in different constituency. The candidate from the particular constituency shall initiate, followed by party volunteers and the public around. People shall be distributed spray paints, and encouraged to paint/write their dreams and aspirations and how they would like to see their see as in another five years.

Yuva Panchayat – Party volunteers shall visit rural parts of the city for a few days and interact with the residents and talk to them about the issues they face. On the following Sunday, volunteers with the constituency candidate shall visit the area and organise a congregation to discuss how their problems can be met with local resources and youth engagement.

Google – Google Hang Out for women with ex-top cops from Delhi on a particular day throughout the night. Women shall discuss their safety concerns and come up with suggestions to curb crime against women. By morning, a recommended policy shall be drafted which shall be included in party’s manifesto.

Merchandise – T-shirts, caps and bands

Twitter – Trending a new hashtag everyday picking one scam, issue, incident, and promise at a time

YouTube – A channel on YouTube, with videos of leaders’ speeches, live streaming of rallies, interviews, and video releases on issues.

Quora – People shall be encouraged to ask questions that shall be answered by party volunteers as per party’s agenda and manifesto.

Crisis Possibility:
• Criminal charges against the leader
• Insider changing the party at the last moment
• Foul comment by a person seen close to the leader/usage of unparliamentarily language by the leader
• Death of an announced candidate
• Negative image created by media across different platforms
• Offending a group of people unintentionally/ misinterpretation, twisting of speech

Crisis strategy:
• Withdrawal of the accused’s candidature and terming it as a negative publicity stunt by the opposing party
• Blacklisting and creating a negative image of the individual who left the party.
• Public apology and creating a new ad campaign to shift the focus and make up for the tarnished image
• Ensuring the public of a prospective candidate whose ideology is similar to the mourned one
• Real time response
• Creating and maintaining a crisis team which keep manages media image and takes corrective measures in case of image spoilers

Continuous management of cost and expenditure.
As we get closer to Election Day, we will do a weekly and then a daily budget monitoring. Our spending will be divided into two main categories – persuasion and non-persuasion. In the persuasion section, we will include such voter contact expenses as TV, mail, phones, press research, field, and polling. Our non-persuasion section will be sub-divided into administrative overhead and fundraising. As a general rule, we will spend 65-70 per cent of our money on persuasion, but it will also depend on the length of our campaign.

Our budget guidelines:
• Voter communication (60%-70%)
• Field (5%-15%)
• Fundraising (5%-10%)
• Administration (5%-10%)
• Research and polling (5%-10%)
• Earned Media (1%-3%)



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