BJP Vs Opposition Parties on Twitter: Social Media Strategies for Political Mobilisation During 2018 Karnataka and Telangana Assembly Elections
Sanjeev Ratna Singh

Sanjeev Ratna Singh, Ph.D. Scholar, GD Goenka University, Gurugram (Haryana), India.

Manuscript received on 07 September 2019 | Revised Manuscript received on 16 September 2019 | Manuscript Published on 26 October 2019 | PP: 476-484 | Volume-8 Issue-11S2 September 2019 | Retrieval Number: K108009811S219/2019©BEIESP | DOI: 10.35940/ijitee.K1080.09811S219

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Abstract: BJP’s 2014 Lok Sabha win under Narendra Modi was a watershed moment for politicians and social media users alike as it would change the very nature of political dissemination and its consumption. The extensive use of platforms like Twitter, Facebook etc. is reported to have played a crucial role in shaping the minds of first-time voters in favour of BJP. The post-2014 scenario in the country witnessed all main political parties embracing social media and gave it equal importance as compared to traditional tools of communication like newspapers, radio and TV. Twitter has now become one of the favourite tools of politicians for disseminating and interacting with social media users and creating a favourable impression among new and young voters. Though BJP is still the biggest political force on social media in India, the change in digital strategies of other political parties like Congress and Rahul Gandhi also reflected in their rising Twitter engagement levels since 2017. Congress and other regional parties had to rework their strategy and take on BJP’s aggressive political campaigns on digital platforms. The study is aimed to document how some regional parties and prominent leaders in south India transformed themselves as an attractive voting proposition among the electorate during the 2018 assembly elections. This paper analyses comparative Twitter data of BJP, Congress, their top state leadership in Karnataka and Telangana along with leaders of regional parties like HD Kumaraswamy of the Janata Dal (Secular) and KT Rama Rao of the Telangana Rashtriya Samithi (TRS) during the 2018 Karnataka and Telangana assembly elections. It also includes an exhaustive analysis of official Twitter handles of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on metrics like number of tweets, likes, replies with overall volume and engagement during the election campaigns. The paper aims to present a new understanding of how Twitter is being used as a tool for communication by political parties.

Keywords: Twitter, Political Communication, Data Mining, Congress, BJP, Telangana Rashtriya Samithi.
Scope of the Article: Social Networks