New Delhi: The Election Commission, which has banned public rallies till January 15, has left political parties in a lurch as they bank on grand public rallies during election campaigns. With Covid-19 cases rising, the Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Manipur, Uttarakhand and Goa Assembly elections will see the action shift to the digital world.
The poll body has asked the parties to conduct digital campaigns in the five election-bound states.
While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has a massive digital presence, its rivals like Samajwadi Party and Congress have also strengthened their online presence.
Political gurus believe that BJP’s strong digital footprint gives the party an upper hand in terms of reach. Since the rise of PM Narendra Modi in 2014, BJP has remained one of the most powerful parties in terms of its digital presence, social media, which is backed by its dedicated IT cell.
Let’s look at the numbers:
BJP On Facebook
BJP Uttar Pradesh unit’s Facebook page has been liked by 4.9 million people and has got 4.5 ratings. On the other hand, Uttarakhand BJP’s page has been liked by 269 thousand people and has got 4.3 ratings. Punjab BJP’s page is liked by 277 thousand people meanwhile, Goa BJP’s page is liked by 139 thousand people so far. The number of people who liked Manipur BJP’s page currently stands at 66 thousand.
Congress on Facebook
The political rival of BJP and main opposition party Congress’ strength on Facebook is also mention-worthy.
Congress is more powerful in Punjab, so let’s start from there. The page of the Punjab unit of Congress was liked by 559 thousand people, almost 2.5 times compared to BJP in the state. As many as 536 thousand people liked Uttar Pradesh Congress page, while 361 thousand people gave a thumbs up to Goa’s Congress page. In Uttarakhand, 83 thousand people liked the Congress page but only 26 thousand people liked the Manipur Congress page.
Where Do AAP, SP, BSP Stand?
Other contenders like Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party and AAP also have some weight when we talk about elections in their political war ground. Since Uttar Pradesh is the main base of both these parties, here these parties compete directly with BJP and Congress. The Facebook page of the Samajwadi Party has 2.8 million followers while only 15 thousand people like the page of Bahujan Samaj Party. For Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), 762 thousand people like its UP page, while 229 thousand liked its Uttarakhand page.
BJP On Twitter
The favorite microblogging site also has impressive numbers for the ruling BJP. The UP BJP is followed by 2.9 million people, Uttarakhand BJP’s handle is followed by 119 thousand, Punjab BJP has 65 thousand followers while Goa BJP and Manipur BJP handles are followed by 65.4 thousand and 61.5 thousand people.
Congress On Twitter
Unlike Facebook, Congress fares well in Uttar Pradesh in terms of followers. While Punjab Congress page has 165 thousand followers, UP Congress handle has 461 thousand followers. Congress’ Uttarakhand handle has 67.9 thousand, Goa Congress has 30.2 thousand followers meanwhile Manipur Congress handle is still waiting for its blue tick. It remains to be verified with just 333 followers.
SP, BSP and AAP on Twitter
Samajwadi Party has 2.8 million followers on Twitter, while Bahujan Samaj Party has 24.5 thousand followers. AAP’s UP handle has 80.6 thousand, Goa handle has 36.5 thousand, Uttarakhand handle has 30.3 thousand followers. There are 146 thousand followers on AAP’s Punjab Twitter handle.
BJP Leaders on Social Media
One cannot forget the huge following of senior BJP leaders. The party will definitely benefit from these as well. BJP’s Facebook page alone has 15 million likes and 17.3 million people follow the party on Twitter. At the same time, as the main leaders of BJP too has a huge fan following. The Facebook page of PM Narendra Modi, is liked by 46 million people, meanwhile, his Twitter handle has 74.3 million followers. In UP, its Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has 16.8 million followers on Twitter and 6.6 million likes on his Facebook page.
Congress, SP, BSP and AAP Will Also Benefit
Congress’ Facebook and Twitter pages will also help the party, which has 5.7 and 8.4 million followers respectively. Party’s prominent leader Rahul Gandhi’s Facebook and Twitter pages have 3.9 million and 19.5 million followers respectively.
Similarly, the Samajwadi Party will also benefit from its leader’s Facebook and Twitter handle. SP’s Akhilesh Yadav’s Facebook and Twitter pages have 7.3 and 15.4 million followers respectively.
On the other hand, BSP will benefit from 2.3 million followers on its Twitter handle of its leader Mayawati. The Aam Aadmi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal has 8.2 million and 23.7 million followers on his Facebook and Twitter page respectively.
WhatsApp, Telegram and Fans Group Will Also Help
Apart from Facebook and Twitter, there are thousands of groups on WhatsApp, Telegram and Koo that will help political parties reach out to their voters. Not to forget, several fan groups and fan pages of political leaders, who are filled with avid followers and influencers.
Now time will tell whose digital campaign strategy will prove to be successful. All will be revealed after the social media campaigns end and voters cast their votes at the polling booths.