Nandan Nilekani beats Ananthkumar on Social Media!

Every candidate who is contesting from the Bangalore Urban constituencies has a Facebook page. How effective has it been? Read on…

In the backdrop of Lok Sabha election campaigns, politicians from namma Bengaluru seem to be gearing up to see who will shine in the limelight. And with the obvious popularity that the internet and smartphones enjoy, not all our politicians need to go campaigning on feet to meet voters. All they need is a computer or a smart-phone to do the work for them.

While there are still some who prefer to receive physical copies of minutes, only because they don’t know how to read emails (poor little fossils), there are others who are literally all over the place. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube… name it and they are there. Why almost all candidates have their own website, which they claim ‘will be a place where I can interact with the citizens’.

Here’s our, albeit a little irreverent, take on the social quotient of our local representatives. And before we begin our analysis, some good old gossip from the grapevine to get started. Please note: We typically substantiate our stories, but these were just too juicy to not share…

  • A Bangalore South contestant has hired somebody from Obama’s campaign team to take his campaign viral.

  • The design team of a particular party is working overtime – they are purportedly putting in 18 hour days on the field… campaigning. So much for the assuming that they would only need to pitch in using CorelDraw.

  • Another party has reached out to several writers (including one of us) offering them a position to ‘do online marketing’ for them. Our writer politely refused and received a mail that said something on the lines of ‘You will never prosper’! So delightful!

  • Rumour goes that a journalist from Bangalore was hired to do online marketing for a particular party. Job profile: Facebook, Twitter, Blogging and commenting on news stories. Package: 15 LPA!

We’ll leave it to you to make inferences. And on to the analysis…

Facebook frenzy

While the rest of the world may just be tiring of the world’s foremost social media network, Facebook, some of our politicians are signing up only now. No wonder some profiles have cover photos with messages that say ‘Wish to be my friend?’ Get with the times man, that’s so Orkut! “Internet-savvy” citizens seem to have turned into a vote bank, with many first-time voters catching up on all the news online.



Facebook page


Nandan Nilekani


Ananth Kumar


Abdul Azeem


Rizwan Arshad


PC Mohan


V Balakrishnan


Sadananda Gowda


Nina Nayak



Narayana Swamy


Babu Mathew


Ruth Manorama


Nandini Alva


Nandan Nilekani seems to rule supreme on Facebook (and other platforms). His page has received close to 379,811 likes, and there are about 40,000 people talking about it every day! He is closely followed by 5-time MP and BJP candidate from Bangalore South, Ananth Kumar (289,411 likes, 35,004 talking about this).

All other candidates too have taken to Facebook. From their plans for the city, to self-praise, to heart wrenching pictures of them shaking hands with the common man, there’s more than enough for Facebook users to like (and for trolls to rip apart)). P C Mohan’s page (7,000 likes), is rather interesting. The majority of the posts are about BJP’s agenda for the country. “Vote for Modi” seems to be a common theme across all platforms. His wall features a significant number of posts on Gujarat as well, so much so that one citizen commented, ‘Are you contesting from Gujarat or my constituency?? Where does Bangaluru stand Saar??’ Posts also include updates about his campaign in the city and a good amount of Congress and AAP bashing.

We, the tweeple… 





Nandan Nilekani



Ananth Kumar



V Balakrishnan



Sadananda Gowda



Rizwan Arshad



Babu Mathew



PC Mohan



Nina Nayak



Narayana Swamy



Ananth Kumar and Nandan Nilekani dominate on Twitter too! The tweets posted pretty much replicate what’s been done on Facebook. If you look at sheer number of tweets, PC Mohan leads the bandwagon with 1,502 tweets. Point to note, most of these are retweets from the BJP handle. It is obvious that several of the candidates are new to Twitter as well – this is a medium that has been underutilised.

Of hangouts and +1s

While only Nandan Nilekani and Ananth Kumar seem to have a dedicated page on Google+, it does not seem like other candidates are missing out on much. In what is probably a first, Google+ in association with several partners, has been organising several hangouts with politicians. People from across the country have been able to post one-on-one questions to candidates as a means of this. This is certainly a change from the past where the public met the political class only through campaign trails and media interviews. What’s also interesting is that, Google+ seems to have gained a lot more momentum in the country as a result of the Hangouts.

You can have a look at those you have missed, here.

Internet ads

Our political parties seemed to have added online advertising to their media bouquet as well. One rather angry little birdie also mentioned how adverts about the elections are all over the place. Imagine his chagrin when an advertisement featuring a candidate talking about his plan for Bangalore appeared before a game of Angry Birds!

All said and done, social media has had a major part to play this election season. Has social media changed the game for the elections going forward? Certainly! Is it here to stay? Absolutely! Like every other brand vying for space on social media, to tap into the diminishing attention spans of people, politicians and political parties too will need to rethink their social media strategy going forward. Whether it has borne fruit or not this time round, is something that will be determined once the results are out.

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