Indian Elections 2014 & the Obama Campaign
In the first in a series of three infographics, we analyse the presence on and effective use of Twitter by Narendra Modi, the BJP’s Prime Ministerial Candidate for the 2014 Indian Elections.
Narendra Modi has been using Digital Media very actively and so have other leading politicians, including Arvind Kejriwal. Has the 2014 election campaign replicated the methods used by Barack Obama during the US elections? The BJP and Narendra Modi have definitely taken a cue, while most Congress leaders have stayed away. Here’s a comparison of the 2 US elections in 2008 and 2012 with Indian Elections 2014.
2008 US Election and Comparison with BJP vs. Congress
Barack Obama vs. John McCain is equivalent to BJP vs Congress. While Barack Obama pushed the boundaries of political campaigning online, from raising online contributions to active tweeting, his opponent, John McCain was hardly online. This is very similar to the Indian context, where multiple BJP leaders have built a strong presence and following online – specially Narendra Modi with 12 Million fans on Facebook, while the Congress has by-and-large stayed away, with Rahul Gandhi only having 125,000 Facebook fans.
2012 US Election
In the 2012 US election, Barack Obama was up against Mitt Romney. While Romney did spend approx. $5M online, Obama spent over $47 Million on his digital campaign.
One of the key components to the Obama’s digital campaign was his website barackobama.com, a ‘social network’ where volunteers could sign up, enroll their friends and neighbors and help increase the virality of Obama’s digital campaign.
AAP has taken a leaf out of this and launched https://donate.aamaadmiparty.org , where anyone can contribute to the party with amounts as low as Rs. 1. Similarly, the Volunteer section on the website promotes signups to its volunteer program.
Is the presence of Politicians in Social Media helpful?
The active online presence of politicians and involvement of citizens helps democracy by initiating discussions and debates and helping citizens vote for the best candidate.
Further, this opens the platform to more active democracy, where elected representatives are more accountable to the voters. We have seen social media make businesses more accountable – the day is not far when social media also makes our politicians more accountable.
Watch this space for our next two infographics on the Twitter presence of Arvind Kejriwal and the Indian National Congress.