Poll tremors on social media


Like many of you, I, too, have been at the receiving end, suffering from the onslaught of political massages over the past two months. Now that the hullabaloo of elections is over, the election results declared and the new government is firmly in place for the next term, I hope to get some respite and relief from political messages that have been hogging my mobile’s space.

In this election, social media has been used extensively to reach out to the voters leading to tremendous surge in posts with political undercurrent on WhatsApp. The super-active enthusiasts with political leanings have been on overdrive to make the posts viral. No wonder you stumble upon the same message or the video over and over again. Never mind if the repeated messages madden you and the clogged phone memory frustrates you, but the deluge of messages continues unabated.

It has been perhaps the most polarizing election in Indian history with level of political discourse stooping really low. And the ripple effect of malicious campaigning and vicious electioneering is there to be seen on the social media platforms. All kinds of messages with political connotations including fake news, concocted stories, distorted facts and twisted history have been in circulation making it difficult to filter truth from damn lies.

As if the deluge of political messages, genuine or fake, is not enough to give me headache, I find myself caught in WhatsApp cross-fire. As the emotions run high, arguments and counter-arguments fly to and forth, many times breaking all bounds of decency and decorum on messaging groups. In this politically charged atmosphere, if I try to intervene I come in the firing line. Hence I choose to recluse.

It is rightly said, “If you want to convert someone into enemy. Try discussing politics, if it fails try religion.”Of course, this has been a bitterly fought election but no less fierce have been the battles on politics in the virtual world. There may not be any permanent friend or foe in politics but I have seen many friends turning into foes on WhatsApp, quite a few leaving the groups in disgust. In my hyper-active school friends’ group, the arguments turn so bitter and ugly, that at times, the admin has to stop all messages in the group to bring truce.

Now that the elections are over and the government has been formed, it is time to bridge the divide in the country. In line with the Prime-Minister’ slogan, ‘Sab ka saath, sab ka Vikas and also ‘sab ka vishwas’, let negativity be out and harmony be restored in the country. Hope the message resonates in the social media as well.

(Published in Chandigarh Tribune on June 6 , 2019)

12 Replies to “Poll tremors on social media”

  1. You have nicely depicted the social media malaise that inundated WhatsApp groups during the election season. I for one simply refused to be drawn into any of it; the only downside was to have to spend considerable time deleting messages. I am confounded, though, with the messages still finding place in some groups, which goes on to say something about the free time some of us have in our lives to spend on utterly unproductive discourse. This, too, will pass, I fondly hope

    1. All of us have gone through our share of malcontent. Nevertheless, the election turbulence gave a glimpse of times to come.
      Rama you always have an eye for the trending issues and also the style to put everything in place.

      1. What should a Modi Supporter do if some of our friends are not yet ready to accept the huge victory and post some fake videos and posts on our groups please Rama ji answer me on my email please .

        1. I understand your pain. Mala, you are a Modi bhakt and an ardent BJP follower. You feel hurt when anybody criticises him or is critical of the party but in democracy i think everyone has opinion.
          Let Modi’s work speak for him.

    2. With the increase in the number of smart phones social media has been used extensively by the political parties as an effective platform for political propaganda. It’s a huge network of individuals circulating political messages and we have to bear the onslaught of all these messages.And you right Atul the deluge of political messages continues.

  2. Politicians have been playing with the emotions of voter earlier too but now with TV, mobiles etc things are turning bad to worse but I feel out of this negativity something Positive for sure will come, younger generation is lot more wiser

  3. Excellent,entertaining article! I am not very active on social sites. I thought Lucknowites are free enough to discuss Indian /state politics. Madam, my daughter’s observation is different to yours.She says when unknown people meet , discuss politics,if political ideology is same,they become fast friends forever.

    1. Garima, your daughter is not wrong.If ideology is the same, you get a common factor to gel with . A different and positive perspective!

  4. ‘A lot of sound and fury signifying nothing ‘ That’s what elections are in my eyes.Redolent with feverish fervour and frothing angst between the warring parties. Well depicted as always .

    1. Thanks Ranjnaji. What a wonderful way to describe of elections as ‘sound and fury signifying nothing’!

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