United Voters of India: The Logic of Collective Action (Part 18)

Digital Action

To bring about change, UVI will need to make the leap from attracting between 10% to 30% of the voters. As we have seen, the NANVs (Non Aligned and Non Voters) make up about two-thirds of the Indian electorate. So, around half of them will need to come together and vote as one to bring about real change in India’s political landscape. To coordinate the actions of such large numbers is impossible even for political parties. This is where the ideas of swarm intelligence, self-organising systems and emergence come into play. Rather than trying to build a top-down system which can be immobilised by targeting the leaders, what is needed is a bottom-up decentralised system – coordinated via digital tools.

The organising unit for UVI has to begin at the booth level. A polling booth consists of about 1000 voters – about 250 families. A UVI cell will be needed in every booth with a single objective: can the cell attract a third of the voters (families) who agree to vote and vote as one on election day? Little of no action is needed in the physical world except the act of voting. Everything else can be done digitally – right from signing up members to running primaries to campaigning. A UVI member with a smartphone is the granular unit from which the larger swarm can be constructed. India’s future – our children’s future – is truly in our hands.

Today, there are many who feel helpless – disillusioned with the existing political parties and not finding alternatives among the available options. This is the ideal scenario for a new startup – but the solution is not creating a new political party which over time becomes just like the established entities. What is needed is a new approach to politics. Robinhood and Reddit brought in a new class of investors to the US markets. UVI and its digital platform need to do a similar transformation in India – attract those who are not passionate about politics but have a desire for change. The answer lies in each constituency selecting its candidate via primaries – thus laying the foundation for a Swatantra Lok Sabha.

With a growing number of economic policies taking India back to the dark days of 1960s and 1970s, India needs a “Ghar Lao Lakshmi” movement. A digital platform like UVI can help the silent and disenchanted majority come together to coordinate their actions to overturn the power structure in India that has made serfs of its citizens. Street protests are fine but what’s needed is electoral power. Votes of the selectorate keep the incumbent parties in power. It is time for the independents to rise to complete the unfinished freedom movement of 1857 and 1947 so that when we look back a decade later, we can say, “Ghar Aayi Lakshmi.”

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.