Lok Sabha Election for 2019 has started on a high intense mode. Already 3 phases of election are complete and 4 phases are remaining. As always, high tussle of power is on stake but with every political part be it BJP or Congress, doing something different to win the hearts of the masses. In this Lok Sabha election, parties are not just fighting in real world but in the virtual world of digital platforms also campaigns are being done. Every party has their social media army ready to set the narratives and counter the opposition propagandas.

In 2014 Lok Sabha  election, social media played a key role in propelling the BJP to power but in general election of 2019, the environment is quite different as Congress has prepared its social media arsenal ready to combat the ruling party’s formidable cyber army.

In past 1 year, both the major parties have invested heavily on their digital footprints. Thousands of volunteers has been trained in social media communication and in data analytics through digital platforms as parties. Even the regional parties like BJD, TMC, AAP, TDP and DMK have understood the power of digital communication and has sharpen their social media communication.

In past 6 month, Campaigning in social media is on full swing as leaders from national and regional parties are reaching out to the masses in every platforms.

Unique Social Media Strategies used by political parties in Lok Sabha 2019:

Hashtag Battles

Everyone knows the hashtags are very important in social media. Earlier Congress has trended hashtag “Chowkidaar chor hai” which was trended all over India.This campaign was against PM Narendra Modi  on corruption charges, especially on the Rafale deal, and the flight of economic offenders like Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi during the BJP’s tenure.

To counter this hashtag, on March 17, Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi prefixed his name with the word ‘Chowkidar’ (watchman) on Twitter, sending social media into a tizzy. Several Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Union ministers, chief ministers and leaders followed this trend. Soon Twitter and Facebook flooded with Chowkidaar prefix and hashtag “Main Bhi Chowkidaar” .

TMC has started a campaign “Pradhan mantri hisab do” in Twitter and a web series. It has become hugely popular among netizens.

Just like ice bucket challange, in Jan 2019, Members, workers and supporters of the ruling BJP were spreading the word, nominating others to vote for incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a second term in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections with #NaMOAgain and ModiOnceMore

Live Streaming Rallies

In this election, BJP started a streaming rallies live on social media platforms. Soon other parties followed the same suit. BJP is also proactive in case of other mobile marketing initiatives like ‘Dial 022-4501-4501 to hear live speech of Narendra Modi’. They are putting their best foot forward to connect with the 185 million users who use internet on their mobile phones.

Internet TV

Over the years, BJP has become one of the pioneers in tapping the new age media to the best of its potential. NaMo TV, India’s newest television channel is the best example of it. It covers Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election rallies, speeches and promotional events.

Numerous Social Media Pages

Both BJP and Congress has built up many FB pages to grab the attentions of the social media users. While some pages are generic to the parties and some are freshly made to target specific target groups. The purpose of these FB pages is to demonstrate the narratives of the parties and support the campaigns of these parties.

Few FB pages of BJP and Congress:

My Gov India (Official) – This FB page focuses on building a perspective towards BJP about the work which is being carried out by BJP

With Congress – This Fb page focus on the campaign of Congress ” Ab hoga Naya”. It helps to build the narrative of congress in social media pages.

Nation With Namo – This page was created in 2013 and has quite an influential audience base. It normally feature all the people who are supporting Modi or BJP.

Indian Youth Congress – This page is created by youth wing of Congress. This page highlights the problems youth is facing in BJP rule.

Digital Raths in Delhi NCR – It is one of the unique concept which is rolled out by BJP.  As the name says, the Digital Rath is a chariot that will play a video reel of all  achievements of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Central government. And all failures of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-led state government. The raths are travelling and cover the entire Delhi-NCR region. They will also have an in-built WiFi spot. Interesting take is  — the password of the WiFi spot will be ‘Kejriwal failed to give free WiFi’.

Whatsapp Campaigning

India’s political parties have been using extensively  Facebook’s messaging service WhatsApp in general election 2019.

The messaging app has become a key campaign tool used widely by workers of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition Congress party, which accuse each other of propagating fake news while denying they do so themselves.

Both Congress and BJP are using data analytics to create Watsapp groups based on demographic and socio-economic factors for better targeting of their messages.

The BJP had an edge when it came to volunteer engagement for such classification.

Connect with Fan and Followers

In social Media, it is a lot about honoring your followers and telling them that you are listening. Brand Modi is so strong that there are various accounts online that boast of being followed by him.  Tweets of encouragement and gratitude are a strong point in Modi’s communication in social Media.

The Humor in giving the reply to his followers have been a plus point in Modi’s communication.

PM Modi and BJP always keep followers in loop. Every Morning, you can see the tweet from Modi about his rallies details. Telling followers what you are up to helps them believe in your brand and connect with you better. Modi, being the prime minister, uses the platform appropriately while announcing his whereabouts to the citizens of the country and beyond. Linking these details with the milestones achieved on the way creates a sense of fulfilment among the fans and followers.

Whether Congress’ Ab Hoga Nyay will defeat the BJP’s Phir Ek Baar Modi Sarkar, is something one has to wait and watch. Political parties have surely come up with smart campaign strategies. How far it will help them win elections is what we need to wait and watch.

Ruchita Srivastava

Cofounder She Digital (An all women Digital Marketing Agency)