Riots, Fake News & Celebrity Catch: A Game on Indian Elections
Video Editor: Puneet Bhatia
Camera: Nitin Chopra and Sumit Badola
Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, a team led by journalist Abeer Kapoor has created a board game that simulates the Indian electoral process. When Abeer was covering the Assembly elections in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and other states, he thought of it creating a unique board game.
I started thinking about how political parties are players and the terrain they play in is the board. Political parties have basic resources – feet on the ground, money and basic ideologies represented through various policy plans. I thought what if I was able to simulate this and make people in-charge of their own political parties.Abeer Kapoor, Creator of The Poll
In the game, each player takes control of the affairs of a political party. A player gets 5,000 rupees to fight an election. The game begins with the constituencies being revealed. One has to draft an inclusive manifesto to solve the issues of the constituencies. It’s followed by argumentation and discussion. Each player has to argue to defend their manifesto.
A player comes up with strategies to maximise their own vote share. The end object is to send maximum number of your MPs to the Parliament. The player with the majority wins.
Abeer insists the game isn’t a civics lesson.
The game is a simulation of the electoral process. It is important that people engage with it because, fundamentally, the electoral process in our country is opaque. When people are left out of it, a certain apathy kicks in.Abeer Kapoor, Creator of The Poll
He feels politics and policies affect our daily lives and as a citizen, one should care to be vigilant about the process. There is a general sense of apathy due to the opaqueness of our electoral process. With the game like The Poll, he hopes to make a difference.
“When a game like The Poll is available, you see that when you can take charge of a political party’s affairs, it’s not that inaccessible. Politics and policies affect our everyday lives. We have to be vigilant about things that are happening,” he told The Quint.
The game is available in both English and Hindi. It can be played by 16 people and more. It’s a game that can be played with 4 or 5 players.
It has been developed by a small team backed by Seeking Modern Applications for Real Transformation (SMART), an NGO that runs a community radio station in the northern state of Haryana and Friedrich Naumann Stiftung, a german foundation for liberal politics. Abeer Kapoor led the creation of the game, with assistance from researchers Anandya Bajaj and Vidita Priyadarshini.