Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): The people in the rural belt have become more aware about the political scenario and electoral equations, all thanks to the digital age we are living in. The technology has empowered the people in the rural areas as almost every household has access to the internet through mobile phones. Exposure to social media platforms like YouTube, WhatsApp, X(earlier Twitter), Meta (Facebook) have changed the way people consume information. The political parties have become very active and more aggressive on social media platforms feeding people with information, enumerating their achievements and attacking the opponents.
Unlike their urban counterparts, the people in the villages are quite social. If one happens to visit a village, he would see villagers sitting together at chaupal, temple premises, market area, tea stalls engaged in deep discussion. As the election date is approaching fast, discussion on the political prospects of the party, the winnability of the candidate, the performance of the sitting MLA are the hot topics.
Age, education in no bar, be it literate, neo literate or illiterate, everyone has something to say on the electoral battle underway in the state. Even womenfolk are not behind, as they too are quite vocal in expressing their opinion on political scenarios. The youths particularly in these rural belts have strong opinions and this is quite evident in the political activities they are engrossed in. Ghanshyam Lodhi, a farmer from Donda Mahuakheda village in Begumganj tehsil told Free Press that almost every house has a mobile handset and people are exposed to all sorts of information about the party and candidate available on social media.
“Villagers living in far flung hamlets are aware of the political happenings in the state. They are not naïve anymore, no one can dupe them by lofty speeches or lucrative promises. They understand the ground realities well and rate the performance of the public representatives,” he said, adding that the political scenario in the state majorly occupies the discussions at village chaupal.
Interestingly, even the local party workers join the discussions and try to sway public opinion in favour of their respective party. Narayan Singh Panthi, who works at a roadside shop near Khandera village of Raisen district said that people coming to the stall are mostly engaged in discussing the electoral prospect of the parties and their candidates.
Their discussions have inputs of political content they gather from social media. They are updated with the background of the candidate, the previous victory margin and all relative electoral data, said Panthi. A farm present there said that he goes through the social media content on mobile phone every day.