The night before Voting Day
On the night before voting, BBC and Exchange4Media held a dinner and conversations at The Leela, Gurgaon. The night was dedicated to ‘The Global Perspective on Indian Elections’. Taranjeet Singh, Sales Director – South Asia BBC Advertising, opened the night and gave welcome to Mishal Husain, News Presenter, BBC, who has her roots in India and has been actively involved in covering the Indian elections this year.
During the event, Mishal, who had made a series on Mahatma Gandhi in 2009 also showed to the audience a small presentation of her search for her ancestral house in Alibagh. Speaking on the Indian elections, Mishal said, “This year the Indian elections are the most intriguing and interesting and everyone’s eyes are on India. The number of first time voters in India is double the population of the United Kingdom. What would really be interesting to see is which way the urban and youth voters will go.”
By sending two of its journalists, Mishal Husain and Jon Sopel, to India to cover the elections, BBC strives to strike a chord with its international audience showcasing the Great Indian Elections scenario as the entire world eagerly anticipates the results. Jon Sopel could not be a part of the dinner as he was at Delhi Haat for a live coverage. The dinner hosted along with exchange4media served as a great platform for media personnel and eminent personalities to exchange their views a night before the voting day to make the right choice. Despite being a dry day, the dinner went on till midnight as guests slowly left the event rather geared up to vote the next day.
While Mishal has been able to interview Aam Aadmi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal, she has not been able to get hold of Modi so far, but is hopeful of interviewing him “one day”. Speaking about the global impact of the elections in India in an interaction with Krishna Prasad, Editor-in-Chief, Outlook, Husain remarked, “We will see what we have never seen before. India has seen incredible changes in the last 10 years. I suppose there is personality politics in these elections, which is compelling to the audience all around the world.”
Mishal also noted that India’s economic promise and challenges have been closely seen by the entire world. The assumption that India was on an upward trend is now a question and everyone wants to know why. Also commenting on India’s relations with Pakistan, Mishal said she feels that the best way to go about it is by realizing the economic needs of each other and then reaching a consensus. Also, the last time BJP was in power, India and Pakistan relations were at their peak.
Mishal also spoke about the use of social media in these elections. “BJP and AAP have more successfully used social media than Congress. It is one of the best ways that they can use the internet to promote their parties and form a connect with the internet using generation of India,” says Mishal. “Twitter is being used in a way that the world has never seen before. I think the world can learn a lot from these elections,” says Mishal. Speaking on her interview with Arvind Kejriwal and what she finds most interesting, she said, “Arvind Kejriwal is the only one of the three major parties that has given us an interview. It’s been really interesting to see how AAP has got so many people from outside politics into politics, people who have successful diverse careers elsewhere – people who would have never otherwise joined politics, that has been very interesting. “
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