The Monster Machines that Drive Punjab’s Polls


The Monster Machines that Drive Punjab’s Polls

Illustration: Mandar Mhaskar


he Aam Aadmi Party head office in Chandigarh is located in a grand old white bungalow in posh Sector 16. It could have been created by The City Beautiful’s Swiss-French founder, Le Corbusier. I’m expecting it to be peopled by salt-and-pepper-haired men in white kurtas and mufflers, preparing for a good old political revolution with slogans and dharnas. But the building is the only thing that’s grand and old around here. Hiding inside this sedate-looking house, is the modern-day technology monster that is keeping its finger on the pulse of its voter 24/7.

Election campaigning in today’s IT-enabled age is nothing like it was before. A report recently analysed the role of big data in Donald Trump’s historic win. Closer home, it has been well documented that the BJP ran the most data-oriented campaign in Indian electoral history in 2014, resulting in a dominant majority. AAP, which started off its #KickNasha Punjab campaign with standard-issue anti-drug advertisements, finally seems to be doing an admirable job of following in the BJP’s footsteps.