New Delhi: Captain America stands shoulder-to-shoulder with his fellow superheroes in the final showdown against evil Thanos with a caption, ‘#DelhiElections2020 are declared. AAPvengers! Assemble’. If you are wondering, if it’s the work of a Marvel fan, then you are wrong. This is a post made by the official Twitter handle of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
In a time when millions spend their lives every day glued to phones, political parties shell tons of money on digital ad campaigns to garner votes. With Delhi Elections underway, three major parties: BJP, AAP and Congress have been caught in a whirlpool of memes and videos targeted against each other.
In ‘How to Win An Indian Election’, former political strategist and data analyst for BJP, Shivam Shankar Singh speaks on how political parties use social media campaigns to sway the mindset of voters. ‘The value of short and memorable messaging can’t be underestimated in politics,’ explains Shivam in his account. ‘Any political strategy that doesn’t account for this is bound to fail.’
The thirst for memes and funny clips always keeps the Internet on edge. The major reason for its ‘viral factor’ is its relatability. The Delhi election campaign has seen parties often using pop culture reference as a secret sauce to convey their message. AAP recently posted a clip on Twitter where Kejriwal is shown as Mario, the hero of the extremely popular Japanese video game, Super Mario. The Kejriwal Mario wearing an AAP cap and scarf around its neck runs along fighting numerous ‘obstacles’.
The war isn’t just fought on Twitter. Even Instagram is strongly used. AAP released an edited clip from the epic film, Baahubali, of the character Bhallaladeva (played by Rana Daggubati) watching Kejriwal through a telescope. BJP Delhi Instagram account released an animated video brandishing Kejriwal as a comical superhero ‘Palturam‘, termed as someone who changes allegiance.
The song is similar to the title theme of cult classic Indian superhero, Shaktimaan. Attacking AAP, the official Instagram handle of Congress released a clip where several people fall into a large pit named ‘Kejri Well’ and ends with a note, ‘This time don’t fall in the Kejri Well’.
Battle of Emotions
The campaign has also witnessed the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the attack of students of Jawaharlal Nehru University as a major rallying pitch. While BJP has launched several pro-CAA digital campaigns, the opposition parties have made campaigns against it.
Taking a dig on AAP, the Congress posted a photo on Instagram of a man wearing a white shirt and a white cap but with no face but instead the words, ‘AAP Kahan Hai?‘ (Where are you?’). The caption asks, ‘When students & citizens were being brutally attacked – #AAP kahan the?’. (Where were you?’)
The World’s largest social media site, Facebook is used by parties to attract netizens. In a bid to maintain transparency in advertising, the platform had started ‘Facebook Ad Spend Report’, a publicly accessible online report.
News Today checked the amount spent by parties in the last 30 days and found that the page, ‘LageRahoKejriwal‘ – a pro-AAP community with over 2.53 lakh Likes – spending Rs 14,65,561. Their ads here claim of accomplishments done in Delhi and the promises they wish to achieve if they win the election again.
Following close behind is the BJP page with Rs 14,58,957 while The Indian National Congress Delhi page has poured Rs 2,06,740 from its coffers. As the Game of Thrones continues across social media, Delhiites will soon cast their vote for their Chief Minister.