Major political parties in India are gearing up for the 2019 general elections which will see an estimated 90 crore Indians casting their votes to select the government at Centre. The upcoming elections will be crucial for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party which after losing ground in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh in the assembly polls, will be going aggressively. Congress, on the other hand, will be fancying its chances of leading an alliance at the Centre in 2019.
However, going by the current trend, it’s not going to be an easy battle for the BJP, as issues like farmer distress, loan waiver, unemployment, and national security, will play a crucial role in deciding the current government’s fate.
And as the Lok Sabha elections approaches, political parties will adopt various social media platforms to reach out to the Indian users. A major role will be played by microblogging site Twitter which saw a phenomenal response from its Indian users during the recently concluded five state assembly elections in 2018. From October 1 to December 11, there were 6.6 million tweets with the tag #AssemblyElections2018.
During these assembly elections, landmark announcements and poll promises remained as some of the top-tweeted moments. The most prominent personalities which remained a topic of discussion were Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.
Amid this new era of politics on digital platform, here we will take a look at the most followed politicians on Twitter:
BSP chief Mayawati is key to opposition unity for the 2019 general elections. According to political pundits she will shape the opposition challenge against the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). A politician who drew a blank in 2014, she could make or break the outcome of the elections in 2019.
Trinamool Congress chief and Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee believes the country will witness a “revolution” in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and people will defeat the BJP. For the next upcoming elections, her motto will be “BJP Hatao, Desh Bachao“. She claimed that no one will vote for the saffron party in the Lok Sabha elections and people will vote for those who are strong. Banerjee has been instrumental in mooting the idea of a ‘federal front’ to stop the BJP juggernaut.
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath has been one of the star campaigners for the BJP due to his oratorical skills in Hindi and for his obvious connection with firebrand Hindutva. His appeal could be gauged from the fact that during the Karnataka elections, the state BJP received a volume of requests to deploy him.
If you are one of those who think Indian politicians are uneducated, then you need to follow the Twitter handle of Congress leader Shashi Tharoor. We are not advising you to follow his style of politics, but to enhance your vocabulary. Also an author, Tharoor described his new book on PM Modi as “more than just a 400-page exercise in floccinaucinihilipilification”. He is like this human dictionary who has a word to describe every given scene and that’s the catch!
It has been over a year since Rahul Gandhi assumed the presidentship of the Congress party. And it was under his leadership that the party witnessed a stunning three-state whitewash over arch rival BJP. Unsurprisingly, within 20 days of the results, Rahul’s followers on Twitter went up by around 2.70 lakh. However, it remains to be seen whether 2019 will be a year of Rahul Gandhi or no.
The soft-spoken and suave finance minister Arun Jaitley, believes the outcome of assembly elections in three states would have no bearing on the Lok Sabha elections. According to him, the upcoming elections would be between a highly opportunistic “coalition of rivals” and tried and tested PM Modi. The senior BJP leader thinks the quality of India’s political discourse has been degraded by Congress President Rahul Gandhi and his supporters.
Taking lessons from BJP’s recent losses in five states, BJP’s national chief Amit Shah has already switched the party into election mode. He believes the party will recapture the throne again in 2019 and with a bigger mandate. He said, “The party’s win will mean the victory of nationalism over casteism and nepotism. The election will drive the final nail in the coffin of those who do politics of vanshwaad, jaatiwad aur tushtikaran (nepotism, casteism and appeasement).”
Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal has courted several controversies and libel litigations worth several crores. But for now he seems to have silently gone backstage, leaving his deputy Manish Sisodia to do all the talking. A strong opponent of PM Modi, Kejriwal has steadily made personal attacks through Twitter too. The AAP chief’s tweets show he mentioned ‘Modi’ in 255 of his 1,303 posts between May 2016 and February 2017. He will be heading the party’s campaign in the upcoming Lok Sabha election in Delhi, Punjab and Haryana. He will be using both social media and public speeches to talk about his policy initiatives and broader regional politics.
Twitter will be a major battleground for PM Modi in the run-up to the 2019 general elections in India. The prime minister will face his biggest challenge in political career this year as he will be facing a resurgent Congress-led Opposition. Using his diplomatic skills, the prime minister will be looking to pacify the party’s old friends apart from winning new ones. The upcoming elections will also be seen as a referendum on his work as a prime minister in the last five years. The party will be riding high on his popularity to make it big during the upcoming elections. Remember that he is known for springing a surprise on his opponents. Talking about followers on Twitter, a recent Twitter Audit report has revealed that President Donald Trump, PM Modi and Pope Francis leads the list of leaders with fake followers globally.