Network18 and Google have partnered to roll out one-of-its kind series that aims at helping prominent politicians connect with the voters.
The first in the series was Arun Jaitley, leader of opposition, Rajya Sabha, who addressed voters live via a hangout session yesterday. Rajdeep Sardesai, editor-in-chief, IBN18 Network anchored the session. The hangout series will also involve politicians such as Mamta Banerjee (West Bengal CM), Omar Abdullah (Jammu & Kashmir CM), Shivraj Singh Chauhan (Madhya Pradesh CM), Sharad Pawar (NCP President), Jairam Ramesh (economist) and Anna Hazare (social activist) - discussing key topics and issues on the voters' minds.
According to Rajan Anandan, VP and MD, Google India, the 2014 general elections promise to be a landmark in the history of this nation and it marks the beginning of political parties and candidates embracing Internet to reach out to an educated and digitally savvy group of young and potential voters. "We are very excited to partner with Network18 to provide our users with all the information they need and engage the leaders of the country on Google products," he says.
Ajay Chacko, COO, Network18 says, "At Network18, as a leading editorial voice in the country, we have always focused on ideas and initiatives that encourage our citizens to participate and engage. 'In Conversation' is another milestone in this direction and it assumes greater significance given the 200 million+ fast-growing, highly aware digital audience that is shaping the agenda during these elections. We are happy to partner with Google in this pioneering effort and are confident that this will serve our audiences well."
Sardesai adds, "Perhaps more than any other election in the past, these elections are about capturing the imagination of millions of both first-time as well as experienced voters. And it is evident that the frontier of this battle is online. 'In Conversation' is a landmark because it meshes the power of digital with the impact of a town hall'.
Making use of the power of social media and understanding the importance of getting real time feedback from the citizens of the country, Indian politicians have increasingly started using social media platforms like Google+ to reach out to the netizens. In 2012, Gujarat CM, Narendra Modi, was the first Indian public figure to use Hangouts to reach out to his audience. A number of politicians including Arvind Kejriwal of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, HRD Minister Shashi Tharoor and others have used Google+ Hangouts to connect with Indian citizens.
The Hangout series will also air on CNN-IBN and IBN7 at 10 pm and 9.30 pm respectively.