How do I register as a voter? And who do I vote for? Wait, when is the election? And where? What if I’m against all mainstream political parties? And where am I supposed to be finding any honest and unbiased news or information about politics anyways?
As it turns out there is a one-stop solution for almost all of our political questions. A digital solution aptly named Lokatantra.
Lokatantra.in is an online news and media agency, that aims to make the youth more politically aware and socially conscious. It attempts to bridge the gap between voters and politicians by empowering voters with comprehensive information about their candidates and the voting process, after verifying its authenticity and organizing it in a manner that makes it quick and easy to understand.
On the flip side, the social enterprise also collects data on citizens’ opinions on key issues through polls and surveys, and then analyses and publishes the results, to aid in the decision-making of leaders. In this way, the platform sheds light on the accomplishments of politicians- especially independents who can’t afford expensive campaigns, as well as the troubles of the common man.
The subject matter on all of Lokatantra’s platforms consciously stays clear of providing any opinion in its reporting and is thus silently gaining popularity with users looking to be made abreast of the country’s complex political landscape with facts bare of political ideology. Unlike most usual news agencies, the content on Lokatantra presumes unfamiliarity of the reader with the topic, thereby being more encouraging for novices. The brand, which is known for its attention to accuracy, also provides a feature known as “Fact-Tantra” which checks and calls out alternative facts. All the information shared on the portal is thoroughly corroborated and referenced to ensure correctness and reliability.
Some of the Lokatantra’s flagship campaigns have included the “The Loka Dictionary” which is a glossary of political terms, and “The Loka” which is a collective of stories of the heroes that drive our democracy. The NPO employs its burgeoning influence to advance important social causes such as children’s education, and women’s safety by partnering with likeminded NGOs.
The Lokatantra.in website and mobile application prides itself on its treasury of information about each and every candidate from the Mumbai City district. This extensive material includes details about these candidates’ educational qualifications, past political affiliations, career highlights, controversies, criminal records, and standpoints on critical debates. The platform also allows users to ask candidates questions, as well as rate them so as to help other voters from their constituency make their choice.
Before an election, Lokatantra interviews all the candidates standing, with a uniform questionnaire to gather their opinions on issues that play a key role in deciding who to vote for and are yet often not a part of mainstream discourse. The answers from these interviews are then fed into an algorithm, which allows voters to answer the very same questions, and then ranks the candidates in their constituency based on how much their political opinions match. What makes this quiz truly extraordinary is the fact that it takes into account the nuances of one’s answers, by letting you weigh how much each issue affects your vote.
Tannisha Avarrsekar, the Founder, CEO & Editor-in-Chief of Lokatantra, says that it all began, with her own difficulties as a first-time voter, when she moved back to Mumbai after completing her undergrad at King’s College London. What started off as an attempt to help out a few other friends, eventually blossomed into a considerable organization, due to the generous backing of the Seva Ghar Foundation.
Today, the startup enables hundreds of Mumbaikars to retrieve details about their own voter IDs and constituency and assists first-timers with registration and FAQs about the voting procedure. Built on the principle and passion for democracy, Lokatantra cultivates its many features to level the playing field for independents, by giving them the same amount of value and attention as candidates from major parties. This encourages new people and fresh ideas into an industry, that is otherwise not welcoming of newcomers.
Since the very press launch of Lokatantra, where Tannisha was publicly offered and politely declined not just membership but office bearer positions in two opposing national parties by the leaders of their respective youth factions, the brand has on account of its neutrality enjoyed the goodwill of parties across the political spectrum.
In testament to the high esteem those in the industry place on her integrity and counsel, Tannisha who is a Political Strategy & Communications consultant by profession, later went on to work on the manifestos of both those opposing national parties for the same election! In light of her pioneering efforts in the field of political marketing, Tannisha who is also the critically acclaimed author of two books, was recently conferred with the MADCon Top 50 Marketing & Advertising Leaders award.
The client list of Tannisha’s consulting agency, Lokavyuha (lokavyuha.com) includes members from Zilla Parishad to Parliament, whole regional political parties, corporates, and reputed charities such as the Insaniyat Foundation and the CFTI. The company boasts a range of services such as election management, speech writing, crisis communications, PR, government relations, marketing, fundraising, as well as image and reputation management. This includes software solutions in the form of websites and mobile applications for data management and analysis, polls & surveys, and broadcast communications.
However, the agency strictly only takes clients outside of Mumbai during state and central elections, to ensure that there is no conflict of interest for their Founder, with the profiling of political candidates that her other brainchild Lokatantra does in the city.
By squashing every excuse in the lazy voter’s pocket, Lokatantra.in, which goes by the tagline of ‘Digital Democracy’, is in many ways an electoral necessity that we didn’t know we needed. As of now the outfit is busy raising funds to secure food and hygiene for daily wage workers affected by the lockdown. Click on the links below to find out how you can support them.Website: https://www.lokatantra.in Instagram: www.instagram.com/lokatantra.in Facebook: www.facebook.com/Lokatantra.in Disclaimer: The views, suggestions and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Forbes India journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.