Why BJP will rule India uninterrupted for the next 30 years, till 2049

(This article first appeared in ThePrint on 5 June 2019.)

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In a job interview, the hiring manager decided to put the candidate at ease with small talk. He asked the candidate, what’s your favourite fruit? Considering it is the season of mangoes, surely you like mangoes?

Instead of giving a simple answer, the candidate replied, “I do Vipassana”. The manager was flummoxed. What’s Vipassana got to do with any fruit? Continue reading “Why BJP will rule India uninterrupted for the next 30 years, till 2049”

Everything you wanted to know about social media in Indian politics and elections

By Shivam Vij

(This article first appeared in The Telegraph on 31 March 2019.)

Sometime in the late 2000s, a young software engineer who voluntarily ran social media propaganda for the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh and the Bharatiya Janata Party got an opportunity to attend a BJP social media meet in Bangalore. Among the people who saw this young man speak there was the then Gujarat chief minister, Narendra Modi. “Why don’t you do something for me,” Modi said to him, encouraging him to promote Modi on social media. Around the same time, the Congress party was telling Shashi Tharoor to go easy on Twitter.

Today that young man is arguably one of India’s most important people, part of a select group of people informally used by the top echelons of the ruling party and the government to influence the online narrative. He’s regularly trying to make this or that trend

on Twitter, running WhatsApp groups and Facebook pages that reach millions of people. When he met Modi during the 2014 campaign, the PM-to-be told him, “Keep it up. We have to make mainstream media irrelevant.” Continue reading “Everything you wanted to know about social media in Indian politics and elections”

Here’s why Modi gets away with his gaffes, while Rahul Gandhi gets called Pappu

By Shivam Vij for ThePrint.in, 27 August 2018

There’s a clip of a Narendra Modi speech that made the rounds of social media recently, where the Prime Minister is talking about converting foul gas coming from a sewer into fuel. The statement became such a butt of jokes that the BJP and its supporters on social media were forced to counter it. Continue reading “Here’s why Modi gets away with his gaffes, while Rahul Gandhi gets called Pappu”