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Kejriwal sweeps hurdles, Modi runs to power on Android

Last updated on: October 17, 2013 14:06 IST

Kejriwal sweeps hurdles, Modi runs to power on Android

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Somesh Jha in New Delhi

These games featuring Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal are not party's initiatives but of their supporters and followers.

Game for control over India’s politicians? With an Android-supporting mobile phone, you might not have to look far.

As state Assembly and general elections approach, Aam Admi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi are putting on their Super Mario stunt to woo young voters.

The game, Aam Runner, carves out the proclaimed agenda of the AAP in a categorical manner. 

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Photographs: Courtesy, NaMo Games.

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Kejriwal sweeps hurdles, Modi runs to power on Android

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Arvind Kejriwal, the face of the party, is seen running with a jhadu (a broomstick, the party’s symbol) across New Delhi, where the party would contest the Assembly elections in December.

As the game progresses, Kejriwal faces many hurdles — black money, water cannons, police barriers and even sign boards saying, ‘Politics — do not enter.’

After a player successfully overcomes these hurdles, the party comes to power and the game progresses to the second round. Here, the role of the party’s symbol, the broom, comes into play.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Greedy Games.

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Kejriwal sweeps hurdles, Modi runs to power on Android

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The broom, Kejriwal’s superpower in the game, sweeps clean all the menaces in the city, including high electricity bills, broken flyovers, corrupt politicians and waterlogged roads, all on the party’s political manifesto.

The game states, “Cleaning is essential from the inside.”

The interactive application allows one to pledge for vote, donate and also invite friends from one’s Facebook account to play the game.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Greedy Games.

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The designers of the game are Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Ropar students who started following ex-IITian Kejriwal since the AAP began its campaign.

“We wanted to take up some issue while developing a game and we thought this would be the perfect one, as we have been following the movement regularly,” said Arink Verma, founder of Greedy Games, which developed the game.

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Image: Kejriwal launches the game.
Photographs: Courtesy, Greedy Games.

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Kejriwal sweeps hurdles, Modi runs to power on Android

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Another game, Modi Run, runs almost on the same lines, except the game’s only mandate is to win seats from various constituencies across 18 states.

A caricature of Modi is seen running through the states to reach the ballot box, the goal of the game. “Help Modi win the election by reaching the ballot box,” says the summary of the game, designed by Dexati.

Experts say the Android platform has been effectively picked up by parties to zero in on young voters.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Dexati

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Mahesh Murthy, founder of digital brand management firm Pinstorm, said the mobile platforms in India with a substantial presence were Android and Symbian, adding the latter had been effectively discontinued.

“Hence, it’s quite logical for parties to engage with voters on Android.”

Renowned ad film maker Prahlad Kakkar said, “It is important to cater to a reasonably interesting segment of voters, as this becomes crucial in times of a close contest.” He added it would be a big mistake if parties didn’t show innovation in their campaigns.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Dexati

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Murthy said content and design, not merely an application, determined its effectiveness.

The games have secured the thumbs up of gaming enthusiasts. “This (Aam Runner) is a great game, showing the ideology and the work of the AAP,” said Anurag Mangal, a gaming enthusiast.

A game developer said as the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) didn’t have a clear face for its prime ministerial candidate in the coming elections, it was losing a lot, and Opposition parties were grabbing this opportunity.

Kakkar said that if the UPA doesn't follow suit, this could weigh heavy on the alliance.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Dexati

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Vindhu Verma, professor of political science at Jawaharlal NehruUniversity, said, “This time, the campaigning style is different, with innovative mobilisation strategies. But whether these would be converted into votes is be hard to tell.”

She added in the US elections, social media had played a key role in reaching out to the people. 

According to Census estimates, about half the 762 million electorates are youth voters and about 149 million would exercise their voting right for the first time.


Photographs: Courtesy, Greedy Games.

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