FAQs

Why Mantri Cards™?

Here at Besides™, we believe in information we can verify. Mantri Cards™ contains information that is objectively verifiable, with links to legitimate resources, for us all to inform ourselves and research further.

We hope this game cultivates curiosity about the political landscape of India and encourages us to learn more about our leaders and the administrative system at large. We believe this can open channels for informed discussion, not just for the politically inclined, but for anyone who wants to be an active and aware citizen.

The cards themselves, from colours to the illustration style, have been carefully and neutrally considered, so as not to exaggerate or embellish any detail. We've put in a great deal of time and research to ensure that this game is informative and fun, while the deck is durable and easy to carry, wherever you go. 

Is there any political agenda to Mantri Cards™? Is it funded by a political entity? 

The agenda with Mantri Cards™ is to build awareness on our politicians by providing an easy starting point. Rather than being funded by any political entities, it was crowdfunded by people who believed in the idea. Simply put, if you bought a deck, you helped make Mantri Cards™ possible.

What is the purpose of the game?

The purpose of the game is to help people learn the names and identities of the people in the 17th Lok Sabha. Containing verifiable information from legitimate sources, Mantri Cards™ sets the user on a journey of information and discovery, where one not only learns about the people in power, but helps set context for informed and important discussions moving forward.

What are trump cards?

Trump Cards, or Top Trumps, is a card game our team used to play as kids. Turns out, Top Trumps was first published in 1978 and has covered a wide range of topics. We grew up playing top trumps on WWF wrestlers, cricketers, and sports cars.

The game is simple: each card contains a list of numerical data, and the aim of the game is to compare these values to try to trump and win an opponent's card. 

Why does high always win? Especially for criminal cases, or assets and liabilities?

Pro-tip: high doesn't win when you use the Supreme Court Power Card!

On a serious note, we grappled with this question ourselves. We wanted the game to have an aspirational quality to it, and it’s obvious that having lesser criminal cases declared to oneself is better than more. However, we soon learnt that there is more to the numbers than meets the eye.

For example, is it always better to have lower liabilities? Or lower assets? Is it always better to be younger, or a first termer in the Lok Sabha? These are complex subjects. Taking loans, being wealthy, having more experience – for better or for worse – is not something that can be laid judgement to, prima facie. We decided that Mantri Cards™ should not spill into morally coding the information, but rather, merely presenting it.

In keeping with this, our objective was to collate, verify, and subsequently share the data so that people can simply have the information. What they choose to do with it or how they interpret it is and will remain out of our control. We believe this is a positive thing.

For the rest, we went with how top trumps typically works and our tests have shown that the game is both informative and fun!

Should I trust the numbers? Where can I see this information?

As much as one can trust numbers, yes. Should you ask more questions? Absolutely.

The numbers are all sourced from legitimate databases, the links for which are available for anyone to view and verify. We’re excited to see where each individual’s research takes them! Write to us here with your analyses and discoveries and tag us on social media! In case you find a data discrepancy, write us here.

For your information, each card contains:

Item

Description

Source

Source Link

Name

Their name as it is registered with the Lok Sabha

Association of Democratic Reforms provides an archive of the candidate’s self-declared affidavit that was filed during the 2019 elections.*.

myneta.info
or
affidavit.eci.gov.in

Political Party

The political party they represent

Association of Democratic Reforms provides an archive of the candidate’s self-declared affidavit that was filed during the 2019 elections.*.

myneta.info
or 
affidavit.eci.gov.in

Constituency
& State

The constituency and state they represent

Association of Democratic Reforms provides an archive of the candidate’s self-declared affidavit that was filed during the 2019 elections.*.

myneta.info
or 
affidavit.eci.gov.in

Birth Year

The year they were born

Lok Sabha Website

loksabha.nic.in

Number of Terms

The number of terms represents the number of times the MP has been elected to the Lok Sabha. The term of the Lok Sabha, unless dissolved, is 5 years from the date appointed for its first meeting.

PRS Legislative Research

prsindia.org/mptrack

Education
Qualifications

Educational qualifications, as submitted by the MP in their affidavit*, have been assigned scores for ease of game play, with ‘illiterate’ as the lowest score of 1 and ‘doctorate’ with the highest score of 11.

Association of Democratic Reforms provides an archive of the candidate’s self-declared affidavit that was filed during the 2019 elections.*.

myneta.info
or 
affidavit.eci.gov.in

Criminal Cases

These refer to the number of criminal cases the MP has declared against themselves, at the time of their affidavit submission.

Association of Democratic Reforms provides an archive of the candidate’s self-declared affidavit that was filed during the 2019 elections.*.

myneta.info
or 
affidavit.eci.gov.in

Serious IPC

This refers to the number of counts under the Indian Penal Code (from their declared criminal cases), that fall under certain criteria, such as non-bailable offences, murder, or crimes against women. One can have multiple IPCs in 1 criminal case.

Association of Democratic Reforms provides an archive of the candidate’s self-declared affidavit that was filed during the 2019 elections.*.

myneta.info
or 
affidavit.eci.gov.in

Assets

This refers to the total movable and immovable assets held by the MP, declared by them at the time of their affidavit submission.

Association of Democratic Reforms provides an archive of the candidate’s self-declared affidavit that was filed during the 2019 elections.*.

myneta.info
or 
affidavit.eci.gov.in

Liabilities

This refers to financial debts

or obligations that can be settled over time through the transfer of money, goods, or services. These include loans, mortgages, accrued expenses, etc. The value on the cards represent the amount of liabilities declared by the MP, at the time of their affidavit submission.

Association of Democratic Reforms provides an archive of the candidate’s self-declared affidavit that was filed during the 2019 elections.*.

myneta.info
or 
affidavit.eci.gov.in

Vote Share

This refers to the percentage of the total votes won in the respective constituency that the MP contested in.

Election Commission of India Website

eci.gov.in/files/ file/10929-33constituency-wise-detailed-result


*The current status of this information may be different. For the latest available information, please refer to the affidavit filed by the candidate to the Election Commission in the most recent election.

Why this design? Why these colours?

From colours to the illustration style, we have designed and considered the cards carefully and neutrally, so as not to exaggerate or embellish any detail. We have deliberately stayed away from colours that already have political associations, and instead gone with pastel shades, to form a style that is akin to school textbooks, further emphasising the informative objectives of the game.

What is Serious IPC?

This refers to the number of counts under the Indian Penal Code (from their declared criminal cases), that fall under certain criteria, such as non-bailable offences, murder, or crimes against women. One can have multiple IPCs in 1 criminal case.

As per ADR, the criteria is as follows:

  • Offence for which maximum punishment is of 5 years or more.
  • If an offence is non-bailable
  • If it is an electoral offence (for eg. IPC 171E or bribery)
  • Offence related to loss to exchequer
  • Offences that are assault, murder, kidnap, rape related
  • Offences that are mentioned in Representation of the People Act (Section 8)
  • Offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act
  • Crimes against women

What is the education score?

Educational qualifications, as submitted by the MP in their affidavit, have been assigned scores for ease of game play, with ‘illiterate’ as the lowest score of 1 and ‘doctorate’ with the highest score of 11.

Educational Qualifications

Score

Illiterate (is not able to read or write, as per their affidavit)

1

Literate (is able to read or write, as per their affidavit)

2

5th Pass (has completed 5 grades of school, as per their affidavit)

3

8th Pass (has completed 8 grades of school, as per their affidavit)

4

10th Pass (has completed 10 grades of school, as per their affidavit)

5

12th Pass (has completed 12 grades of school, as per their affidavit)

6

Others (has completed a diploma level programme, as per their affidavit)

7

Graduate (has completed an under-graduate degree, as per their affidavit)

8

Graduate Professional (has completed an under-graduate degree in a technical or specialised field, as per their affidavit)

9

Post Graduate (has completed a postgraduate degree, as per their affidavit)

10

Doctorate (has completed a doctorate degree, as per their affidavit)

11


What does the political party acronym mean?

Each of the political parties represented in the Lok Sabha go by an acronym for quick reference. These are:

Party Full Form

Party

Indian National Congress

INC

YSR Congress Party

YSRCP

Bharatiya Janata Party

BJP

All India United Democratic Front

AIUDF

Janata Dal (United)

JD(U)

Independent (An Independent Candidate)

IND

Jammu & Kashmir National Conference

JKNC

Nationalist Congress Party

NCP

Shiv Sena

SHS

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen

AIMIM

Naga People's Front

NPF

Mizo National Front

MNF

Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party

NDPP

Biju Janata Dal

BJD

Shiromani Akali Dal

SAD

Sikkim Krantikari Morcha

SKM

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam

DMK

Samajwadi Party

SP

Bahujan Samaj Party

BSP

All India Trinamool Congress

AITC


How are the Mantris selected?

While there are 545 (543 elected + 2 Anglo Indian MPs selected by the President) members in the Lok Sabha, there are only 100 MPs represented in Mantri Cards™. To select these Mantris, we focused on 'representation'. From regional representation (minimum 1 Mantri per state and union territory) to political party representation, to gender-wise representation, to highs and lows in terms of the categories, we considered several factors to ensure that the Mantris in this pack do justice to the 17th Lok Sabha.

What if the numbers change?

Certain things cannot or are unlikely to change. For example, the MP's name, or year of birth, often their educational qualifications will not change. Vote share and number of terms will also remain the same during this 17th Lok Sabha term.

However, the categories of assets, liabilities, and criminal cases will change as the years go by and we will update them on our dataset and website.

The cards, being physical, will contain static information and we will consider updating the numbers in future decks.

Why were these categories chosen?

We wanted to cover as many categories as possible, while ensuring the primary points were included. This meant educational qualifications, criminal cases, and number of terms were definitely worth representing, aside from bio information like the name, the political party, constituency, and year of birth.

We included assets and liabilities because this information seems to help viewers understand the MP in relation to universally understood numbers. Vote share was chosen since the idea was born out of the recent elections, so we felt that Mantri Cards should include election related data of the MPs. For this, we considered categories such as Total Votes Received, Vote Share, and Victory Margin as our top contenders, before selecting Vote Share since it gives the viewer an idea of how dominant or competitive a constituency election was.

If you’d like to see another category chosen for future packs, write to us here with your idea and the relevant database!

How many players do I need to play? 

The game is ideal for 4-5 players, but can be played with anywhere between 2-8. In fact, going through the cards by yourself is also highly recommended.

How much time will the game take? 

The game should take anywhere between 30-90 minutes, but can go on longer if you feel like you want to explore all the game variations.

What age groups should play this game?

The game contains factual, objectively verifiable information in the form of mostly numerical data, about our Lok Sabha. This implies that it is for any age group, because none of the information is controversial or complicated, and can easily be consumed by anyone of any age. We recommend ages 8 and up.

Who would this make a good gift for?

For children, ages 8 and up, for students interested in history and civics, for young working professionals, for adults of all ages, your aunts and uncles, your family abroad...the list goes on. The game is simple yet profound, and everyone comes away with a new perspective on what they understand to be the political landscape of India.

Can I suggest an MP?

Definitely. We selected the 100 as a starting point, and went through a rigorous process of research to ensure that Mantri Cards™ does justice to the entire Lok Sabha. That said, we intend to include more MPs in future packs and would love your input. Write to us here.

Where does the QR code go?

The QR code was an element we added to make the game more dynamic and up to date. Each card’s QR code takes you to their profile on our website, with links to their profiles on other databases. In particular, our partnership with PRS Legislative Research links to that Mantri’s current performance shown on PRS’ MP Tracker, for the ongoing term. This enables a continuous engagement, making this game a powerful means of staying connected to our representatives.

Who has made this game?

The game was created by Besides, an initiative by Impact Data Services Pvt. Ltd. to provide bite-sized, verifiable facts to inform the Indian citizen. Besides is a prototype web app available on the PlayStore and on browsers at https://besides.in that stands for information we can verify, being placed besides other verifiable information, so that people can find meaningful narratives on subjects that are otherwise considered dense or esoteric.

Who are the collaborators?

Junglegym has been with us since the beginning to help with concept and design execution. ADR and PRS collaborated with us through their databases and general support in research, Utter helped with marketing and distribution, and Nelkinda was depended on for their technical expertise. We’ve also been fortunate to have received help and connections from several individuals along the way.

Is this legal?

Yes, it has been legal for some time now that the information on our politicians is meant to be publicly available. All we have created is a format through which this objective information can be presented such that it is likely (we hope) to build awareness and invite more people into important conversations.

This all started in 1999, by the formation of the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR). A group of professors from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) with Delhi High Court asking for the disclosure of the criminal, financial and educational background of the candidates contesting elections. Based on this, the Supreme Court in 2002, and subsequently in 2003, made it mandatory for all candidates contesting elections to disclose criminal, financial and educational background prior to the polls by filing an affidavit with the Election Commission.

More recently, in September 2018, a five-judge Constitution bench had unanimously held that all candidates will have to declare their criminal antecedents to the Election Commission (EC) before contesting polls. They even called for wider publicity, through print and electronic media about the antecedents of candidates.