There could be no better time than the coming three weeks for students and young professionals to have a ring-side view of an election campaign ahead of the May 5 polls to Legislative Assembly.

A professor from Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, M. Rajeev Gowda, has sought to tap the interest among the youngsters by launching a “Political Action Internship” programme that ensures exposure to the electoral process.

The internship was kick-started with a two-day workshop on Saturday and Sunday at St. Joseph’s College of Arts and Humanities, Bangalore, where the interns were briefed about what lay in store for them in the coming days when the electioneering is expected to peak.

“The aim of the internship is to provide interns with an enhanced understanding of practical realities of the democratic process in India and a detailed understanding of how an election campaign works, from the initial phase of strategising to the actual campaigning and counting of votes,” Prof. Gowda said.

The internship, which is set to begin on Monday, will see the 70 interns participating in strategy-making and field work under the guidance of Prof. Gowda. The interns will work in different groups and each group will work with a team campaigning for a candidate contesting the elections.

‘Most of them students’

“Nearly 80 per cent of the participants are students,” said Sameer Kagalkar, a Bangalore-based entrepreneur and co-organiser of the internship. Sourav Mukherjee, a student of Christ University, said, “I hope to gain in-depth knowledge about elections, and how democracy functions at the ground-level. This internship will take me beyond my textbooks.”

As part of the workshop, an awareness campaign was organised in collaboration with Bangalore Political Action Committee on Saturday to increase voter turnout. The workshop addressed various aspects of election campaigning, including the role of technology in elections, voter expectation, choosing constituencies and political communication.

The importance of social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter to heighten political awareness among the net-savvy youth was also addressed.

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