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Rookie ahead of veterans by miles

Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has not fought a single election yet but the one-day-old political outfit is already taking over the Opposition space from the BJP - on Twitter, at least.

delhi Updated: Nov 27, 2012 02:31 IST
Charu Sudan Kasturi

Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has not fought a single election yet. But the one-day-old political organization is already taking over the Opposition space from the BJP – on Twitter at least.

The AAP, launched formally today, already has 16, 215 followers on the microblogging site, sweeping past the BJP’s meagre 2884 followers on Twitter, though the saffron party’s account is also active with regular updates on party positions. Twitter following

The Trinamool Congress, the only other major party with an official Twitter account has 2149 followers. The Congress does not have an official Twitter account.

India’s low internet penetration (10%) means social media may play a smaller role in shaping political opinion than in countries like the US, where its use was credited with helping Barack Obama sweep to power in 2008. But support on social media is widely seen as a barometer of popularity among India’s burgeoning middle classes, a critical base for the BJP -- once a trendsetter in using technology to reach voters.

Kejriwal, a little-known activist till 2010, is already fourth most popular among Indian politicians on Twitter, behind Shashi Tharoor, Narendra Modi and Sushma Swaraj.

Political parties typically enjoy fewer followers on Twitter than individual politicians globally, a trend social media analysts attribute to the attraction of personalities over organizations.

Like Kejriwal, Modi and Swaraj, Mitt Romney (1,745,757 followers) and Obama (with a whopping 23,834,458 followers), far outpace the Twitter following of their parties – the Republican party (65,280) and the Democratic party (202,451).

Twitter following:

AAP: @AamAadmiParty: 15,874 followers
BJP: @BJP4India: 2879 followers
Trinamool Congress: @aitmc: 2149 followers

@ShashiTharoor: 1,572,655 followers
@narendramodi: 1,066,693 followers
@SushmaSwarajBJP: 342,093 followers
@ArvindKejriwal7: 168,866 followers