Maria Montero

In Digital India, the government is using free smartphones to …

Politicians who promise food in every house, color TV or mixer mill, just before election season, are long gone. Voters are now being seduced by technology.

Free smartphones, to be specific.

Xiaomi. Image: tech2 / Prannoy Palav

According to a recent post. report by The New York Times, in Chattisgarh state, the head of government Raman Singh has promised a free smartphone in every home. But that’s not where the campaign ends. These phones are being used by Party Minister Bhartiya Janata (BJP) to call voters and ask for their continued support in the upcoming elections.

“… this election season, many of the 2.9 million people who have received the phones have been attacked by the BJP,” the report read.

The state government has reportedly hired 350 call center contractors in Raipur, the capital of Chattisgarh, to survey these voters about their satisfaction with the ruling party. According to some of the 2.9 million users who got free smartphones, they have received calls asking about their experience with the device and the mobile service. They are also asked about their satisfaction with government-related programs and which parties they vote for.

According to the report, BJP is studying the data collected from these calls and then sending party activists to speak to voters if they have expressed a desire to vote for non-BJP parties.

The BJP government in Rajasthan, which is to hold state elections in December, is Also subsidizing phones and data plans for residents., and party leaders are considering extending the model to other states.

It is also known that many governments use tools like WhatsApp and Facebook to promote their parties. You can read the full report here.