Thursday, April 16, 2009

Elections Vs IPL

As India prepares to welcome the summers this year, two events of epic proportions collide with each other. The 15th General Elections and the 2nd edition of the Indian Premiere League (IPL) are taking place together this month. And already preparations are underway for the coverage of these two events. Now the only thing remaining to be seen is which one scores over the other in terms of coverage.

The importance of IPL over elections is something which has divided opinions among various circles. As we look into them, we find that the story is splitting into two halves. It is one section which thinks that the elections will not be affected by the IPL. While the other section thinks that the elections will be affected by the IPL.

Qamar Agha, who is a political analyst and hosts a few TV shows, says that the elections will not be affected by the IPL. He says that the people will always give more importance to their right to vote under any circumstances. He feels that in a democratic setup like India, people will come out to vote because they know the importance it holds for them over a game of cricket.

Echoing his thoughts, students from Delhi University, who are ever conscious of their rights, give out full support to the elections. For them, it is a celebration of their existence in democracy and they are very vocal about their support to the elections. Ashutosh, a law student, says that he feels it is his moral duty as a citizen of this country to vote. He gives more important to following election coverage than following the IPL as he thinks it will him along with other citizens. Pranshu, a history student, says that it is the moral responsibility of all sane minded citizens to follow election developments. He says that cricket can never gain such a prominence that people might forget their democratic responsibilities.

Now as far as those people are concerned who feel that the IPL will affect the turnout of voters in the elections, we find that there is a section who believes that the political machinery of the state has rotten beyond doubt. It is a reflection of those Indians who are frustrated from the existing corruption in politics of this country. It is a sign of the unrest that is brewing within from quite some time.

Subrata Mukherjee, who is the convener of the Asian Political Science Association and a former professor of Delhi University, feels that the way people view the elections will remain the same whether there be any IPL or not. He is among those people who feel that the state machinery has rotten down and the corrupt politics has totally disinterested the people in events like the elections. For him elections are just another process where we choose such people who suck our blood in the end. And the people have got fed up of politicians who continuously cheat them.

Even a large chunk of the common people has lost trust in the politicians of the country because it’s always about the power that the politicians go for in the end. And this is affecting the way the elections are viewed in this country. A layperson’s views on the elections confirm this very clearly when he says that he would prefer to watch the IPL than go and cast his vote. Harpreet Singh, who is a staffer in Delhi University, says that he would rather watch the IPL than give any special interest to the election proceedings. For him, again, it is just another round of ceremony where we choose leaders who cheat us and suck our blood in the end.

But some people wouldn’t still go out of their way to take any side. They still want to view it as a platform where these two events will go off without affecting each other much. Chetan Chauhan, a former cricketer turned politician, feels so. For him the IPL doesn’t pose much of a threat in seeking out voters. Since he has himself been a well-known cricketer, he feels that the public will figure out some way to take required information out of the two events.

Now it remains to be seen how the media gains from all this hype. As the media today is profit-driven, it will be all about striking the correct balance between the elections and the IPL. Qamar Agha feels that the media is smart enough to do this. He says that as the media today is a profit making organisation, it is imperative that they will ultimately find that they will figure a way to give coverage to both the events to make the most of it. And we can see it because now the media is totally into election coverage. But news of the impending IPL are now making headway on the airwaves.

So in this age of publicity and hype, the war for coverage between the elections and the IPL is more about the prominence of democratic ideals and the entertainment quotient of cricket. As there is a division in thoughts, we find that people are divided in their opinion regarding the importance to be given to the General Elections or the IPL.

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