In a country believed to be obsessed with Bollywood stars, even if they mostly produce mediocre films, it is for the first time that an Indian politician has become more popular than them on any social media platform. With 22.1 million followers, Prime Narendra Modi has beaten Bollywood superstars like Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan to become the most followed Indian on Twitter. While Modi tops the list, he is followed by Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan in the Top 5.
Modi’s soaring popularity on the micro-blogging site should be considered as a good sign for Indian politics which is struggling to keep pace with the rapidly changing arena of its operation. There are several reasons for this.
Most of the politicians of the country have started embracing technology only recently and many of them don’t even know how to engage with the new generation of tech-savvy citizens. Modi’s Twitter standing may inspire some of them to not only embrace it but also learn how to use it effectively or risk getting trolled all the time.
Modi was one of the first leaders in the country to have embraced social media. His vision is paying him back now and others can take a lesson from this. Apart from Modi, there are only a few leaders like Sushma Swaraj, Shashi Tharoor and Arvind Kejriwal popular on social media.
Modi’s rise on Twitter can also be seen as an act of politics taking back the lost ground from Bollywood. Social media in India first became popular among youngsters, especially college students, who had deep apathy towards politicians because of their old style of functioning. This generation liked “cool” things and Bollywood actors were naturally followed more because of their “cool quotient. No politician commanded such appeal then until Modi arrived on the scene.
When Modi started his campaign for the PM’s post, the popularity of politicians in the country was at its lowest due to a series of corruption cases in the previous regime. There was a general environment of negativity, which even Modi had noted in one of his speeches during his election campaign. But he managed to capture the imaginations of youths, selling his “Idea of India.”
Whether Modi’s appeal is for the right reasons or wrong is something people can discuss all the time, but there is no denying that he commands an appeal among youths of the country. One only hopes that he doesn’t end up just a mediocre PM.