LS Polls 2024: Exploring use of Social Media in Indian election campaigns

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New Delhi: India is all set for Lok Sabha elections 2024 starting from April 19 in the first of the seven phase general election. The ruling behemoth-Bharatiya Janata Party- is pitted against a motely of alliance called INDIA led by Congress party. The two parties along with other regional parties have taken up various means to transmit their electioneering messages and poll promises to electorates.

Entry of communication technology in Indian election campaign

With the advancement in information and communication technology and the easy availability of smartphones, there has been a significant shift in the campaign process by various political parties. Apart from the in-person or door to door campaign, the parties have proactively used social media like WhatsApp, Facebook X and other platforms for effective electoral messaging. And this has been made possible with the availability of cheap data believed to be the lowest in India. According to a report by Deloitte, India will have one billion smartphone users by 2026 with rural areas driving the sale of internet-enabled phones.

Some experts believe that the social media based election campaigning will replace soon replace the door-to-door or mass rallies. They argue that the technological advancements will empower political parties to entirely run their election campaign online successfully thereby reducing the ground presence drastically.

In-person campaign continues to be relevant in election

Since first general election in 1951-52, Indian political parties have generally resorted to mass campaign rallies with people physically attending them in large numbers. With the development of new technologies and innovation, the election campaigns have somewhat become easier and cost-effective. However, the preferred means to interact with voters remain mass election rallies in cities, towns and villages.

As per a survey by Carnegie, a US based think tank, majority of the respondents believe that in-person campaign was important for voters outreach as compared to election campaign on social media, radio, TV. The in-person campaign generally refers to mass campaign rallies, road side rallies, door to door campaign. Regardless of what the political parties believe about the mode of canvassing, the electorate believes that in-person campaigning is the most important way to directly connect with the voters.

Lok Sabha election 2024 result on June 4

Over 900 million voters in India from 29 states and 8 UTs will enthusiastically participate in general election that takes place every five years to elect 543 members of Lok Sabha. In a country with variety of languages, ethnicities, religion, climate and belief, conduction an election is a gigantic task.

The Election Commission of India has announced polls in seven phases with election taking place on April 19 and ending on June 1. The results will be announced on June 4.

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