India engages in the important ritual of democracy – an Indian general election — every five years. This ritual will be held from April 16 through May 13, 2009 when all 543 seats of the lower house of the Indian Parliament known as the Lok Sabha are up for grabs.
714 million voters, 828,804 polling stations and boatloads of money spent to engage in this process.
The Indian subsidiaries of two of the largest global web companies – Google India and Yahoo India have launched two mashups in Web 2.0 style. Both sites do a good job of educating the English speaking voters of India on the latest in election news, analysis, voting myths, election abbreviations and symbols, and polling schedules. The sites have some interactive features such as maps, polls to understand the citizens’ priorities on issues such as infrastructure, power, water, jobs, economy and national security. The sites personalize data based on the voter’s location and permit searching voter rolls to find your polling booth.
These mashups could be even more helpful if they were provided in local languages. The non-English speaking majority of voters in India would benefit by access to modern and unbiased election information services. Hopefully next time an Indian startup will see the opportunity to help inform and build a nation!