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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Dec 2014

Dharampal winner on Facebook, via the world

Siddhartha Rai , Hindustan Times  Gurgaon, April 07, 2014
First Published: 09:52 IST(7/4/2014) | Last Updated: 09:53 IST(7/4/2014)

If Facebook ‘likes’ are any indication of politicians’ popularity, Congress’ Rao Dharampal is way ahead of the those in fray for the Gurgaon Lok Sabha seat.

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However, most of Dharampal’s Facebook likes are from across the globe, including the Middle East and Europe. He also has a big fan following from Pakistan and Afghanistan, not to mention Spain, France, Germany and even Azerbaijan.

There are about 40,000 people talking about Dharampal on his Facebook page. And he is the talk of the town in Egypt’s capital Cairo. Most of his fans are in the age-group of 18 to 24 years.

On the other hand, Rao Inderjit of the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and Indian National Lok Dal’s (INLD) Zakir Hussain are being talked about mostly in Gurgaon and among people between 18 and 24 years, while Yogendra Yadav of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is mostly being talked about in Delhi and not in Gurgaon. Surprisingly, Yadav is most popular among people between 25 and 34 years.

Dharampal’s close associates explains the bizarre demographics of support. “We have a lot of relations, who have either studied in foreign countries or have settled there. Even my elder brother and I have studied in the UK. So we have a strong network of people across the world and therefore the likes,” said Jeetendra Yadav, a 30-year-old nephew of Dharampal, who manages the Facebook page for the Congress leader.

“My father is liked by all and sundry because of his clean image and his simple lifestyle and behaviour. People from all walks of life like and appreciate him,” said Dharampal’s son Rao Surendra.


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