Are our Political Parties listening to us?

Are our political leaders listening to us? A survey by a national daily (the first link above) shows the following preferences by the internet audiences as president of India: (Figures as of 06:40 am IST 3rd May)

1) Sam Pitroda - 39%
2) APJ Abdul Kalam - 35%
3) NR Narayan Murthy - 16%
4) Pranab Mukherjee - 9%
5) Hamid Ansari - 1%

Admittedly, this survey cannot be said to be a representative survey as it is a random survey of the internet population. Further, demographic checking of respondents is not done, so we have no idea as to the composition of the resultant sample. Even so, one critical factor that is evident here is that the top-3 choices are all non-political, with political names not finding even a 10% choice among the population. Based on the morning updates, it is quite evident that neither the ruling alliance nor the opposition wants a non-political person- despite the choice of the people being so clearly tilted towards an apolitical person.

First, A simple persusal of the data shows that 90% of the respondents are not in favour of a political appointee. This heavy percentage leads to a simple conclusion: when a representative sample is taken, the net result is still likely to be a majority in favour of an apolitical person. There cannot be a completely opposite view taken by the non-internet-connected people of India. This simple truth can also be checked by the extremely simple expedient of talking to people around you! 

Second, the nature of the internet population comprise Professionals, Businessmen, Salaried Individuals, Housewifes, Students and Surfers at common access points like digital libraries, cyber cafes, colleges, offices etc. From this setup, we can readily see that the list represents most of the educated strata of society. The point is that these figures tell a story - a story of disenchantment with the political rulers. While this may be evident to all of us, what is most worrisome - or should be most worrisome for the political parties - is the extent of the disenchantment. Furthermore, if these figures are verified by a survey that accounts for all strata, I do not think that the figures will be too different!

I wish some business or current affairs publication does a nation-wide survey on this parameter: presidential candidate. That would put some serious pressure on the political class! While the president is determined by the political class only, the choice of the people should not be ignored by the parties - which is exactly what seems to be happening on any number of issues nowadays. That is why I rate this survey as highly pertinent - for the first time, I have seen a quantified data on the disenchantment among the people of India!

Is anyone in the political class listening? Yes, I think so - judging from the fact that it was a politician that first floated the name of Dr Kalam. The winds of change seem to have started flowing. Now all that is needed is an increase in the velocity of the wind! So maybe there is still hope...  this is the first indication I have seen of change, serious change in the powers that be. Maybe I am hoping for too much; maybe I am getting carried away in enthusiasm; maybe I am just plain wrong.... But I hope not... for India' sake!


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