Indian broadcaster Network18 and digital giant Google are to capture politicians 'In Conversation' through a joint initiative leading up to India's forthcoming Lok Sabha general elections.
First in the series will be Arun Jaitley, leader of the opposition, Rajya Sabha, who will address voters live via a Google hangout session on 25 March, broadcast on CNN-IBN and IBN7.
Politicians such as West Bengal CM Mamta Banerjee, Jammu & Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah, Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan, NCP president Sharad Pawar, economist Jairam Ramesh and social activist Anna Hazare will also discuss key topics and issues in the coming weeks.
"India is a politically vibrant country and the 2014 general elections promises to be a landmark in the history of this nation – it marks the beginning of political parties and candidates embracing [the] Internet to reach out to an educated and digitally savvy group of young and potential voters," said Rajan Anandan, VP and managing director, Google India.
Ajay Chacko, COO, Network18, said: "At Network18, as a leading editorial voice in the country, we have always focused on ideas and initiatives that encourage our citizens to participate and engage. In Conversation is another milestone in this direction and it assumes greater significance given the 200 million+ fast-growing, highly aware digital audience that is shaping the agenda during these elections."
Rajdeep Sardesai, editor in chief, IBN18 Network, added: "Perhaps more than any other election in the past, these elections are about capturing the imagination of millions of both first-time as well as experienced voters. And it is evident that the frontier of this battle is online. In Conversation is a landmark because it meshes the power of digital with the impact of a town hall'.