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How parties’ political agenda played out on digital media in 2019

The year 2019 saw a big high when it came to political advertising, especially during the time of the General Elections and various State Assembly Elections. Traditional media was used extensively during this time, with Radio witnessing a 17 per cent increase in ad insertions, while TV recorded an 8 per cent increase. As per various reports, political parties also spent over Rs 400 crore on outdoor advertising during this time. 

Digital platforms are also increasingly featuring in political parties’ media plans. The 2019 Lok Sabha elections as well as Assembly Elections saw some of the best ads, both in terms of creatives and investment done by political parties. Here are some campaigns from the 2019 General and Assembly Elections:

Leveraging the digital age 

Social media platform TikTok, which made quite a splash in 2019, also saw politics-led initiatives prevailing on the platform. While the Government did warn TikTok about its political involvement, following which the platform banned political ads, political agenda still prevailed as individual candidates continued to put up their videos on TikTok. 

Apart from banking on videos uploaded on digital platforms, the year saw political parties leveraging hashtag trends on Twitter in a big way to push forward their agenda. For instance, one would recall the #ChowkidaarChorHai hashtag that spread like wildfire during the year as well as BJP’s retort – #MaiBhiChowkidaar, which saw almost all BJP members featuring ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ as their status on Twitter. 

While the Congress led many hashtags to take on their political rivals, BJP used digital platforms to promote the Government’s agenda. 

We also saw politicians of all hues use social media to not only promote their respective parties’ political agenda, but also share their personal views. Here are a few examples: 

Beyond simple advertising 

Such activities were not exclusive to the election times but were a year round phenomenon. For example, the introduction of the contentious NRC and CAA, which have caused strong protests across the country, saw social media users divided into two separate and very vocal camps opposing and supporting these two BJP-led measures. Hashtags like #IndiaAgainstNRC and #IndiaSupportsNRC were used to fight out a digital battle on Twitter. Political parties and members have been using this platform extensively to promote ‘What’s right’ for the country. 

https://twitter.com/RahulGandhi/status/1211569807683801088

https://twitter.com/RahulGandhi/status/1210062130415693825

https://twitter.com/RahulGandhi/status/1208746667786166272

The year 2019 also saw the abolishing of Article 370, and bifurcation of Jammu & Kashmir into two Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. While this initiative was promoted aggressively by the government, there was a sharp divide on social media with people either hailing this move or vehemently opposing it. Other political agendas like the Ram Mandir verdict, too, saw similar patterns of promotions and reactions by people on social media. Here are a few examples: 

https://twitter.com/BesuraTaansane/status/1211716129443303427

https://twitter.com/BesuraTaansane/status/1211277426191241222

https://twitter.com/ShoneeKapoor/status/1210940236416471042

https://twitter.com/rajtarangini2/status/1210765901202542592

https://twitter.com/bengaluruboy48/status/1210116866158415874

https://twitter.com/abbra_ka_dabra/status/1209769161880027136

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