Published: 08th April 2019
With Arappor Iyakkam's Know Your Candidates app, get the 'dirt' on your Neta on your phone
The app is aimed at creating awareness amongst people of Tamil Nadu about the candidates contesting from their constituency and help them make an informed decision
Arappor Iyakkam, a voluntary movement steered by thousands of volunteers and supporters in Chennai, will release an app called Know Your Candidates on Tuesday that will contain details of all the candidates in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry competing in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. The app is aimed at creating awareness amongst people of Tamil Nadu about the candidates contesting from their constituency and help them make an informed decision.
"It's an android app and if you click on the constituency name you can see a list of candidates who are contesting from that particular constituency along with their symbols, photographs, profession, annual income, wealth as well as criminal cases filed against them and the respective details of the cases," explains Deepa Shesadri, a volunteer at Arappor Iyakkam.
At present, the app only has details of the candidates from Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. "We would certainly love to increase the database at a national level, but I think this type of initiative has already been taken up by the Association for Democratic Response with their myneta.in platform and app. They enter a lot of more data like the survey number and other details, so what we came up with is a short and crisp version of all the information. We are making it easily accessible. We developed this app for that very reason, we would be happy for it to be national as well, but it's only a question of finding volunteers as we have to read through the affidavits of over 800 candidates and it's quite a task," says Deepa.
The volunteers have been working since March 26 when the candidates had filed their nominations. Two weeks of day and night collaboration between the volunteers made the app possible. A company called Pro Bono helped create the app. Only the accepted nominations come up on the app to make it easier for the people to go through the details. "Right now the app is an information tool, we hope that the voters will use it to take an informed decision. We should not vote based on parties but know about our candidates, their contributions to society, we should evaluate each and every candidate. We should do proper homework before voting, that's our duty as citizens of a democratic nation," states Deepa, explaining the aim of the app.
They are also going to release videos, one for each constituency with someone explaining the details of all the candidates. The people who don't have smartphones, can't download the app or don't want to can watch the videos on YouTube and WhatsApp as well. Arappor Iyakkam is a people's movement that works towards building a just and equitable society. The movement's current focus is to establish transparency and accountability in governance and build participative democracy to solve people's issues through a large citizen's movement.