When will our politicians be ‘Open For Questions’?

It is safe to assume every Indian politician is trying to imitate Obama’s online presence &  campaign. Obama has not only been advertising via Google Adwords for “Obama’s First 100 Days” but now he is reaching out to common people on White House’s “Open For Questions“,

obama first 100 days

“One of my priorities as president is opening up the White House to the American people so that folks can understand what we’re up to and have a chance to participate themselves,” Obama says in an introductory video at the “Open for Questions” page. “We’re going to take advantage of the Internet to bring all of you to the White House to talk about the economy…This is an experiment, but it’s also an exciting opportunity for me to look at a computer and get a snapshot of what Americans across the country care about. We may not always agree on everything, but this way, I can get a sense of your concerns and give you some straight answers.”

As of March 27, 2009 the statistics of  “Open For Questions” was,

92,935 people have submitted 104,037 questions and cast 3,604,882 votes

But things are not as rosy as it looks. Many Americans are getting tired of hearing/seeing/reading Obama news. Reminds me a lot about the media exposure Clinton got during his early days of presidency.

Anyways, I think it is a great way to be in touch with the citizens and hear them out. Internet medium has become way too powerful and no politician can afford to ignore.

In India..

We, at least in the South, are use to a ‘different’ kind of 100 day celebrations,

  • 100 days of completing (rather surviving) Chief Ministership
  • 100 days of your ‘favorite’ star’s movie – this is somewhat like ‘paid’ citizen journalism/UGC, few film stars in the South ‘pay’ their fans to see the movie to fill the movie theaters.
  • Luckily we don’t have to see a celeberation of a politician completing ‘100 years’, we really cannot tolerate them for that long.

Will Indian political parties and politicians be as bold and open as Obama? Doubtful? May be not. FriendsofBJP has been organizing ‘town hall’ type of meets with Senior BJP leaders. They have been able to attract a good set of intelligent questions for the BJP leaders before they come for the meet. From what I understand the BJP leader has to respond to the questions selected by the FriendsofBJP team.

The Prime Minister’s office should have had something of ‘Open For Questions’ type of tool for us but all our PMs have been literally ‘Closed For Questions’. The state of IT is so bad in our govt that it was shocking to read about our PMO email system being hacked for 3 months. No system is perfect but how could they afford to be without email for 3 months? Very simple, they (irrespective of which politicial party) don’t care as they never read the email to begin with.

Most urban Indians are having a lot of hopes from young politicians like Rahul Gandhi, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Arun Jaitely, Omar Abdullah (had to shut is blog), Narendra Modi. These politicans can afford to take risks and bring a change in the Indian political system – corruption is here to stay folks, it is not going away but we would like to see a ‘change’.


  1. It is not right to say that Indian leaders are not open to interact. An excellent example is Narendra Modi’s website http://www.narendramodi.in . There are many interactive sections where common man gets the opportunity to share directly with Modi. He is not only responding to the ideas shared by people but also mobilizing the government machinery for exploring the execution possibilities of the ideas. Video replies of the questions asked are available apart from the online appointment, online auction and many more. All most all social networking tools like google SMS, google maps, podcasting, feedburner, twitter etc are brilliantly integrated with the website.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.