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Vote: Will Social Media Impact the Election?

by Prasad Krishna last modified Apr 15, 2013 08:30 AM
As India enters election mode, social media has become one of many platforms where possible prime ministerial candidates are being scrutinized.
Vote: Will Social Media Impact the Election?

Rahul Gandhi at a conference organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry, New Delhi, April 4.

The article by R. Jai Krishna was published in the Wall Street Journal on April 15, 2013. Sunil Abraham is quoted.

On top of the list are Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi, who recently acquired the Twitter monikers #Pappu (“naïve”) and #Feku (“boastful”), respectively, following a string of public appearances observers saw as evidence they will be leading their respective parties in the upcoming national election.

A recent study found that social media could influence the electoral outcome in as many as 160 out of 543 seats in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament.

(These are constituencies where 10% of the voting population uses Facebook, or where the number of Facebook users is higher than the winning candidate’s margin of victory at the last election.) 

Indian political parties have started wising up to the power of online campaigning. Ahead of state elections in Uttar Pradesh last year, for instance, parties including the winning Samajwadi Party, Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party turned to social media ranging from Facebook to YouTube as well as to blogs and smartphone apps to promote their candidates and their agenda.

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