Facebook's '10 Year Challenge' takes a political dimension in India
- Piggybacking on the Facebook’s ‘10 Year Challenge’, the Indian prime minister’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made the ‘5 Year Challenge’ trend on Twitter.
- The aim on the online campaign to highlight the Indian government’s accomplishments under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Tenure ahead of the general elections in May.
- The opposition finally hit back in the evening with their own set of tweets.
- A strong public relations campaign is how Modi scored his win ahead of general elections in 2014 as well.
- The party was already ahead of Netflix and Trivago as the number one advertiser on television before the 5-state assembly elections in December.
The hashtag ‘#5YearChallenge’ went viral in India after the BJP started tweeting about the party’s accomplishments over the past five years from building the Bogibeel Bridge to the improvement of India’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ rank.
Here is our #5YearChallenge. In 2013, only Rs. 1,300 crore were allocated for Kumbh. In 2019, Rs. 4,200 crore bu… https://t.co/Xj75haMN2H— BJP (@BJP4India) 1547785931000
At 7.3%, the average GDP growth over the entire term of our Government, has been the highest for any Indian Governm… https://t.co/dWg6TlZWfE— BJP (@BJP4India) 1547799571000
Here is our #5YearChallenge. India’s ranking in World Bank's Ease of Doing Business has risen to 77 in 2018 from 1… https://t.co/9Q18TSOdKa— BJP (@BJP4India) 1547787720000
A publicity stunt or not, the ‘now’ and ‘then’ posts memes contrast the current achievements of the Indian government to when Congress was in power.
The campaign to highlight BJP’s ‘success stories’ has been in the works throughout 2018. Sources told the Economic Times, that the government called in all the ministries to send data on which projects were revived under Modi and which of his cabinet decisions had a positive impact.
Other BJP politicians chimed in as well, with their own impetus on what the party has been able to accomplish in their tenure as India’s ruling party.
India took a leap from decades of darkness to a brighter #NewIndia under the leadership of Prime Minister, Shri… https://t.co/gqSPGqAgHW— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) 1547794507000
While the BJP tried to ride the viral phenomenon, the opposition hit back alleging financial frauds and increase in corruption during Modi's tenure.
A lot can happen in 5 years, especially 'chori chori, chupke chupke'! #5YearChallenge https://t.co/r1xaUDYeMG— Congress (@INCIndia) 1547813888000
The curious case of BJP and public relations
Modi’s government has always been known for being strong in the realm of public relations. Its 2014 win was largely based on a successful media campaign that cost nearly ₹3 billion, rewriting the rules of the game.
Even ahead of the 5-state assembly elections in December, BJP was already the number one advertiser on television according to the Broadcast Audience Research Council. That puts them ahead of Netflix, Trivago and even consumer goods companies like Hindustan Unilever and Reckitt Benckiser.
Congress, on the other hand, wasn’t even in the top 10.
A right to information (RTI) inquiry also revealed that between 2014 to 2017, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by the BJP spent thrice as much as the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) led by Congress on print and electronic advertising.
Congress, along with the NDA, will have to step up their efforts in order to counter Modi’s campaign if they want to keep their visibility ahead of the general elections.
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