You could call it the AAP effect. Everyone with electoral ambitions is now coming out with apps and telemarketing tools to attract the smart and mobile voter, which explains why so many politicians are handing out laptops and taking to Twitter and YouTube. Narendra Modi has set the pace, but it’s now raining apps and other downloads. Some examples:
Spoiler alert: Usually means to prematurely reveal the ending of a movie or book, but has now become a useful app to warn of the impending arrival of a potential rival in the electoral game. Most visible in Gujarat, where Modi was alerted on his smartphone about the arrival of Arvind Kejriwal in his state. Preventive measures were taken, including access being denied to the CM’s office. The AAP app went viral — some would even say virulent. It has definitely raised the electoral bar, or lathi, as was evident in TV shots of the resulting mayhem.
The Ashutosh app: The tables have turned, or rather, the chairs. The photo of the AAP leader trying to ward off a chair flung at him from the BJP side of the police barricade during last week’s confrontation became a sensation on Twitter and generated numerous memes, including comparisons with Rajnikanth. From being a journalist who covered such events to being imbedded in them is some journey, relayed to us minute by minute on his Twitter account which never stops — even while he is being grilled by the cops. Complaining of being beaten back and blue via bluetooth is a bit much.
Finding NaMo: He’s got the entire online office suite, from Smart Namo (an android smartphone made by a Chinese company called Smart Namo Ltd), to Modi apps, the official website and NaMo’s Pocket Book, which comes with an image of Modi in front of Rashtrapati Bhavan — which means that either Google Maps got the wrong address for the PM’s residence or Modi’s getting back at Pranab Mukherjee for ignoring Gujarat while he was finance minister. The ultimate weapon in Modi’s online arsenal is the Modi272 game where you win by defeating enemies like corruption and other obstacles that look strangely familiar – and familial. The top score on the Namometre so far is just short of 200.
Appointment alert: This is not the usual alert reminding you of an appointment, but an online post which gets activated close to an election to remind you to fill some posts — governors and other official vacancies — to beat the code of conduct deadline. Only available to the ruling party and meant to reward loyalists, it performs a dual function, as with posting Sheila Dikshit as governor as it protects her from prosecution in the CWG case. It is the politico-legal equivalent of Norton or McAfee.
Cloud computing: The electoral calculus that has caused many systems to crash, including concepts like the Third Front. Cloud computing refers to various concepts that involve a number of computers connected to the Net. In this case, it refers to the large number of candidates for prime minister who all seem to have their heads in the cloud considering the numbers they can realistically net. They do represent a wide bandwidth, starting with the larger-than-life Jayalalithaa. Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati may be rivals in UP and an odd couple elsewhere, but they are both dark horses, or elephants. And now we also have Nitish Kumar demanding to know why he should not be counted as a prime contender. We will know by May by when, going by what’s trending, their tribe May increase.