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India’s social media election

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Ahead of the general elections, political parties in India are attempting to woo voters on social media for the first time.

Politicians are taking part in Google+ Hangouts, televised interviews organised by Facebook and using the Facebook-owned smart phone messaging app WhatsApp to connect with millions of tech-savvy urban voters.

India’s 16th general election – to be held in nine phases over April and May – will be closely fought, with some observers saying social media will play a vital role in deciding which party wins the most seats.

According to a report published in April 2013 by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and the Mumbai-based Iris Knowledge Foundation, Facebook users will “wield a tremendous influence” over the results of the polls in 160 of India’s 543 constituencies.

Start Quote

Shashi Tharoor

Now no serious politician is seen as being able to avoid social media altogether”

Congress party minister Shashi Tharoor

It’s a finding political parties have taken note of, with major contenders like the ruling Congress party and main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) earmarking 2-5% of their election budgets for social media, according to an October 2013 study by IAMAI and Mumbai-based market researcher IMRB International.

Narendra Modi has his own website and is on Twitter, Facebook and Google+




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