Chennai: As we head for the seven-phase general election, back to back campaigns are underway to seek votes. But, how well do we know our candidates? Have we ever scrolled through their affidavits and nomination papers? For the voters in Tamil Nadu (which goes to polls on April 18) this otherwise complex process is just a few taps away via a free mobile app that was launched on Tuesday.
Arappor Iyakkam, a voluntary movement based out of Tamil Nadu, has compiled the crucial information on all the 863 candidates who are to contest from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The information which has been sourced from their respective affidavits is tabulated on a free app that is available for download from the Android Play Store.
Generally one would have to sift through hundreds of individual PDF files from the Election commission site in order to have a look at the candidates’ affidavits, but this App displays information in a user-friendly manner in Tamil and English. A tap on the constituency will display the candidates and once particular a candidate is selected his/her individual details will be shown.
The individual details comprise a photograph, the party’s name, candidates’ educational background, profession, assets and liabilities declared, details of pending criminal cases. The details mentioned on the app are as mentioned by the candidates on the self-attested affidavits. In order to distinguish between cases, the criminal cases and the politically motivated cases have been mentioned separately.
Speaking to WION, Jayaram Venkatesan, the Convener of Arappor Iyakkam, said, heavyweight candidates from established parties are projected easily, but much is not known about their background. “We hope the app will boost the confidence of the good candidates and put fear in the minds of those with a criminal background. This is a politically neutral app that gives an equal chance to all candidates,” he said.
“This app is the result of the efforts of over 200 volunteers who had been working overtime from March 26 until today’s launch,” said Deepa Seshadri, State Body Member, Arappor Iyakkam. “Our app does not require any personal information or registration from the users, it has been made to empower and educate the voters to choose wisely. Can’t we spare 10 minutes to have a look at the candidates who could end up representing us for the next five years,” she questioned.
To widen their reach, the team is also coming up with constituency-wise explainer videos with a voice-over that enlists the profile and background details about each candidate. Very soon the App would also incorporate the details of candidates contesting the bye-polls to Tamil Nadu’s 18 vacant Assembly seats.