The Karnataka state elections have managed to create a buzz throughout the whole nation. The pre-poll rallies to the final day of the counting and everything in between had been extensively covered by all the media houses. Social media website Twitter became a hotbed for party leaders and their followers. Over three million tweets mentioning the Karnataka elections were generated on the social media platform in a matter of just three weeks, starting from April 25th to May 15th. The massive Twitter coverage this election received proves that social media will be an important factor in the elections to come. Bharatiya Janata Party leaders used Twitter the most actively and were able to get the maximum benefit from the social media platform. From election topics, to highlighting the faults of the contesting Congress leaders, BJP leaders were pro-active and highly successful in using Twitter to their benefit. This is evident in the data released by the microblogging platform which shows that BJP (@BJP4Karnataka) had 51 per cent of the share, while Congress (@INCKarnataka) had 42 per cent. Janata Dal (Secular) remained at the third position with 7 per cent of mentions in tweets.
BJP has been able to win 104 seats, while Congress and JDS have managed to win 78 and 38 seats respectively out of the total 222 seats on which elections were conducted. A relation can be drawn between the party which won the maximum seats and had the largest share of mentions on Twitter. The share of Twitter mentions also indicate that BJP has done an excellent job of converting online presence to votes on the polling day. PM Modi emerged as the most mentioned personality in the course of the Karnataka elections while incumbent Siddaramaiah became the most mentioned candidate on Twitter. This shows that the BJP had deftly converted the battle between B.S. Yeddyurappa and Siddaramaiah to a clash between Congress leaders and PM Modi.
Facebook has remained the platform which is used the most extensively by the masses, but Twitter seems to be quickly overtaking Facebook as far as reach is concerned. Digital India and Jio Revolution seem to have brought more and more people on social media platforms and this has worked in the BJP’s favour. BJP continues to dominate in social media circles and it has often shown the way to other parties in consolidating votes through twitter and Facebook. Interacting with people and showing them the benefits of the policies have become easier thanks to Twitter.
In the days to come, Twitter might emerge as the centre for campaigning and questioning for candidates. The reach of Twitter has increased drastically with mobile phones now becoming a necessity rather than a novelty. People are drawn to social media websites in order to be the first ones to learn about the happenings of a certain incident. This is only going to grow from here on out and BJP can benefit heavily from it in the upcoming elections. Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh will face elections later this year while the all important 2019 Lok Sabha elections too are right around the corner. BJP has a distinctive edge over the other parties when it comes to social media presence and reach, which it needs to grow in the days to come in order to keep up its winning spree. The other parties need to quickly catch up with BJP if they want to stand against the BJP in the days of digital campaigning and online connectivity. Twitter and Facebook will definitely be the key in the days to come.