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BJP’s Twitter Experiments and Tamil Resilience

While the shock and awe campaign of the Bharatiya Janata Party and right-wing affiliates in Tamil Nadu social media circles has been spilling over to offline public discourse more than before, one still cannot but observe the inability of such campaigns to draw support from a wider audience.

Twitter and political messaging were an integral duo in the electoral success of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2014. With close to 53% of the tweets related to elections in support of the then Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi and the BJP, the dominance of the party in the microblogging site has steadily risen. On the face of it, Twitter revolves around quick and short pieces of communication, thereby not appearing to be a conducive medium for traditional style of political messaging. At the same time, the evolution of the information ecosystem has engendered a preference for shorter pieces of communication like quick news bytes over nuanced, long-form narratives among a large proportion of individuals.

Subsequently, the platform became an effective tool to amplify certain talking points which are intended to elicit a reaction from the individuals as against a well-thought-out response. This in turn led to Twitter being dominated by groups that act in a concerted fashion, many of which are politically and culturally rooted. In India, while other political parties have also taken to Twitter, as on date, none of them stand a chance against the BJP. Campaigns run by other political parties are mostly of lesser intensity apart from a few instances. Notably, an ongoing study notes that the ratio of Congress—the only nationwide opposition party—vis-à-vis BJP accounts spreading propaganda is 1:120.

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Updated On : 3rd Nov, 2020

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