The election buzz at Technopark
Even as the Lok Sabha elections gather momentum across the country, in Technopark too politics is the buzz word. There are animated political discussions during lunch breaks and tea breaks, in cafeterias, pantries and front desks, not to mention heated discussions on social media. “Techies are now aware about the social and political happenings and they want to be part of it either directly or indirectly. They are very influential in social media and online media, so they can make an impact,” posts Raj K., on a discussion thread online.
“Earlier, these discussions were never about politics. However, nowadays, just about everyone wants to make their views heard,” says 26-year-old techie Babu K.A. from Palakkad, who works at QBurst.
“I know first hand how expensive it has become just to live comfortably. There are many others who feel the same. I believe that this reality check has made many of us sit up and take notice of politics. I, for one, am quite serious about the upcoming elections and am looking forward to casting my vote,” he adds.
Magi Y.V., lead programmer with Vanilla Networks, who hails from Kollam, too is looking forward to casting her vote. “I voted in the last Lok Sabha elections and I recall that many of us in Technopark got a day off on the day. This year too hopefully we’ll get the same. In the past five years, there has been a remarkable change in techie’s attitude to politics. Earlier there was a certain level of apathy, as if politics was not that important an issue to be discussed in the rarefied atmosphere of our offices. These days, I find that many have been keeping a close eye on the developments on the political front and have become concerned citizens,” says Magi.
Rajith V.P., who works at Nest in Technopark, and who has been keen on politics since his college days at Government Polytechnic, Thrikaripur, Kasaragod, says rather wryly: “Techies are not different from other empowered youth, you know. Most of us are enfranchised and have been raising our concerns and making our political stand clear on social media, through discussions, and sharing interesting articles.”
Techies opine that this increasing interest in politics, which started gathering momentum in Technopark with the coming of the India Against Corruption movement, is largely due to the “step-motherly treatment” that they feel has been meted out to them. “And that’s despite the high tax rates levied on IT/ ITes companies and IT professionals. We are a crucial part of mainstream development, yet our needs are ignored,” says Babu. “Politicians should not ignore us. There are a lot of things that we’re angling for here in Technopark in these elections, issues such as job security, women’s security, a pre-paid auto stand…, ” says Adarsh V.C., who works at Digital Brand Group.
Make a choice
Techie Anoop Ramanujam, a senior systems analyst at an MNC in Technopark has gone a step ahead for these general elections and created a website that helps people decide their political leanings, “based on policies not personalities”. In week or so since it’s been up and running, the website, http://whogetsmyvote.in/ has garnered over 2,500 hits. It’s sort of a game where participants have to divide a sum of Rs. 100 among ten different sectors, namely agriculture, industry, technology, security, anti-corruption, minorities, infrastructure, public sector, social sector and environment, with maximum of 20 per sector.
“I created the website to make people more interested in politics, at a policy-level rather than a personality-level contest, which is what I think the media is projecting. A game format looked like a more interesting thing rather than a routine question-answer. I wanted people (especially those in IT) to become more involved in the political process. Especially since the youth have a larger say now due to their increased proportion in the votable population,” says Anoop.