The world's largest democracy, India, is holding its general election this year. The month-long elections to the 15th Lok Sabha, the Indian Parliament, will be held in five phases between April 16th and May 16th when the final results will be announced.
As India's 714 million voters prepare to elect their 543 representatives, they are witnessing a range of digital initiatives from political parties, civil society organizations, media houses and even corporations. In fact, some observers are calling this India's first digital elections.
Leading the packed ballot is 82-year-old Lal Krishna Advani, the prime ministerial candidate of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, who has embarked on an Obama-style new media campaign. Part of the campaign are a blog, a blogger outreach program, one of the most aggressive online ad campaigns ever seen in India, and an ambitious SMS campaign that will reach 250 million of India's 400 million mobile subscribers.
Rajesh Jain's Netcore Solutions, which is running the SMS campaign for BJP, has bought an inventory of 1 billion SMSes for the campaign. Rajesh is also a part of the Friends of BJP group, which is running a social network and an opt-in MyToday-based SMS channel to support BJP's campaign (Indian Express).
Read more on this at 'Ringing in the Vote: Mobile Phones in the 2009 Indian Elections'