Card game to find out how MPs are faring

Updated: Jun 30, 2019, 15:06 IST | Anju Maskeri

A new card game aims to up your knowledge about the Parliament and start a conversation

Card game to find out how MPs are faring
Mantri cards. Pics/Nayantara Parpia

As we have seen, the Indian general elections can be exciting with moments of nail-biting tension and drama thrown in. But what happens when the poll dance is over? You put partisan differences aside and get down to business, says Varun Mukerji, director at Reach, a Pune-based organisation that supports NGOs and company foundations (CSR) in designing and implementing their programmes. By that, he means the collective business of knowing our members of parliament (MP) better.

Mukerji, 30, is showing the way. Along with colleagues Anuja Pitre and Anirudh Prasadh, he has designed a game titled Mantri Cards to ensure that our interest in the political landscape does not end with the elections, but is enhanced by it. Fashioned on the lines of the good old WWF Trump Cards, the cards contain publicly available information on the MPs — their age, educational qualifications, assets, and even their criminal cases. "We felt the time was ripe to increase civic engagement, because the 17th Lok Sabha has only just begun. And for the next 5 years, we are going to be led by these 542 MPs," he says. "It's important that we know who they are."

Founders Varun Mukherji, Anuja Pitre and Anirudh Prasadh
Founders Varun Mukerji, Anuja Pitre and Anirudh Prasadh

The information has been sourced from the self-declared affidavits submitted by the candidates contesting elections. In 2002, the Supreme Court made it mandatory for all candidates contesting elections to disclose their criminal, financial, and educational background, prior to the polls by filing an affidavit with the Election Commission. "So if someone has a problem with the information on the cards, they need to take it up with the Supreme Court," he laughs. Although a game, the makers say they were careful to not dilute the seriousness of the issue. "We did not want to embellish this in any way or make it humorous because that would defeat the purpose." The idea, then, is to cultivate an interest in informed discussions.

Interestingly, the game goes beyond bare facts about the MP. The team has collaborated with PRS India, an independent research initiative that provides stats and analyses on the Indian Parliament, to lead players to the portal where they can find out how the MP is faring. "We'll embed the cards with a QR code or a URL, through which you'll know what they are up to now." The decision to create the cards is in tandem with the kind of work the trio have been doing. Earlier this year, they created Besides.in, a web app that provides verifiable, bite-sized facts about Indian politics. Given the time of the launch, they begged it around Indian Elections, and now want to turn it into a resource that anyone can pick up and search for a topic on Indian politics. Currently, the team is raising funds for Mantri Cards on the Wishberry crowdsourcing platform. "The funds will also be utilised for tech support for Besides. This way you can stay connected with your MPs."

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