The Social Side of Indian Democracy

For the first time, the Indian parliamentary elections make a massive ripple in social media. Socialbakers is going to be keeping up with all the action there with a dedicated microsite.

The Social Side of Indian Democracy

At this summer’s start, Indians wait nervously for rain; even if El Niño cuts monsoon season short and the dry months beget no wealth, history’s largest election will have to go on through the blazes. For 37 days, India will vote.

With over 1.21 billion people, about half of whom the government estimates have access to social technology, the six major political parties hope to leverage social media to increase voter turnout and, of course, their chance to lead the world’s largest democracy. Elections for the Lok Sabha, or House of the People, happen every five years, with 530 seats determined by provincial population estimates put up for grabs. Through the last two election cycles, nationwide participation hovered around 58%, but since then, social media and the expansion of communications technology generally have expanded on the subcontinent, potentially changing the equation.

At Socialbakers’ dedicated microsite, we’ll be keeping tabs on how the parties and politicians perform on social. As of Tuesday, April 8th, Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was outperforming both his own party and every competitor in terms of fan base, but the two-year old upstart Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party, whose ballot symbol for illiterate voters is the broom, is outperforming all other parties in terms of absolute interactions. Most interestingly, the historically-dominant Indian National Congress is having the least success of all parties on social so far. Is this representative of populist frustration with perceived corruption, or an irrelevant indicator?

How will things play out? Keep tabs on the election by visiting our microsite. Starting next week, we will be updating it live with fresh statistics. Throughout 2014, as almost three-quarters of the world’s population votes new representatives into positions of political power, Socialbakers will be monitoring the social lead-up. Stay tuned for more election coverage from Brazil, Indonesia, the U.S. midterm elections, and much more.

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