With counting another three days away, the Bharatiya Janata Party appears to be leading in terms of popularity on social media as their Facebook mentions would suggest. The BJP edged the Indian National Congress and Samajwadi Party to emerge as the top political party with the most number of mentions on Facebook. The data, compiled from February 19 till 28, is based on the number of unique people mentioning each political party on Facebook. The mentions could be inferred both ways: positive or negative.
In the most mentioned political leaders list, it is no surprise that Prime Minister Narendra Modi comes out on top. The surprise entrant, however, is Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Kumar’s wife and Samajwadi Party MLA Dimple Yadav who has been actively involved in the poll campaign. She sits at number six, just behind Bahujan Samaj Party supremo, Mayawati. The star campaigner from the SP-Congress combine is quite evident with Akhilesh cementing the second spot, one place above Rahul Gandhi.
In terms of most discussed candidates across all the five states that went to polls, Azam Khan figures at the top followed by Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat and UP Transport Minister Gayatri Prajapati. The only female leader in the list is Manipur’s Irom Sharmila, who is contesting her maiden elections.
Defence and crime lead the list among the top political issues discussed on Facebook during the poll campaign. With 46 per cent users engaging in conversations related to defence, the Indian Army’s surgical strikes against terror bases inside Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir seem to still find an echo with the voters. Crime comes a close second at 40 per cent as the BJP and PM Modi raked up the law and order situation on multiple occasions at election rallies in Uttar Pradesh. SP leader Prajapati was also targeted by the party for allegedly raping a woman at his Lucknow residence in 2014.