Delhi Elections 2020: Parties up their meme game to attract millennial voters
As the race for Delhi heats up, political parties have taken to memes to target their opponents and even hit back at them with the AAP, BJP and the Congress indulging in some banter.Updated: Jan 14, 2020 08:46 IST
What would be the best way to grab attention on social media where attention span is low and there’s a premium on humour? The three major political parties fighting for Delhi seems to have found an answer in memes.
As the race for Delhi heats up, political parties have taken to memes to target their opponents and even hit back at them with the AAP, BJP and the Congress indulging in some banter.
Several of the memes have common templates — from morphed screen grabs of popular Bollywood movies to edited clips of television advertisements.
The latest is one centred on a screengrab of the Shahrukh Khan and Kajol-starrer Baazigar of 1993.
On Friday, AAP’s Twitter handle posted a sequence in the movie that had both Khan and Kajol with their co-star Siddharth Ray who had a gloomy expression. The party compared Khan to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, Kajol as the city and Ray as BJP Delhi unit chief Manoj Tiwari.
“This is one of our best memes so far. The expressions of the characters in the photograph said it all – Kejriwal will win Delhi just as Shahrukh Khan won Kajol’s adoration in the movie. Tiwari ji would keep staring gloomily,” said Abhijeet Dipke, a 23-year-old media studies graduate from Pune who is behind many such memes in the AAP’s current campaign.
Not to be outdone, the BJP responded with the plot of the movie: “SRK (Khan) was a manipulative villain in the movie who was plotting against Kajol and her family. He killed Kajol’s sister. And, in the end, he got killed for his sins. Same fate awaits Kejriwal in Delhi!”
Congress joined in, inserting a cut-out image of actor Ajay Devgn into the meme and depicting him as Congress through texts. The suggestion was clear – Devgn and Kajol are married in real life and apparently, so are Delhi and Congress.
Together, the campaign is an attempt to grab the “youth pie” — Delhi has 13.7 million voters, out of which 3.1 million are between 18 and 30 years old.
“Mobile internet penetration is much intense currently than what it was five years ago. Every second person in the city has a smart phone. The campaign has to be intense on social media,” said Rahul Sharma, Delhi Congress’s social media chief.
The campaign doesn’t stop with the parties, several followers respond with their own version of the memes.
“The official response from the party handle was drafted by our quick response team that focusses on social media. The other memes that followed were by supporters who shared the images in personal capacity,” said Punit Agarwal, the BJP Delhi unit’s social media head.
The AAP in Delhi had stepped into the meme campaign around Christmas and so far they have done memes based on screen grabs from movies such as Nayak (2001), Main Hoon Na (2004) and Gully Boy (2019), among others. While BJP did not officially respond to the Nayak meme, a BJP supporter did.
“We never endorsed our supporters’ meme in that case. But decided that we too should begin responding and creating our own memes while at the same time making sure that the fight is professional and not hurt sentiments,” he said.
The Congress stepped into the meme scene in response to an AAP post last week – an edited version of a cement advertisement. The Congress’s response was a similar advertisement on a popular wall paint brand.
“Maintaining similar templates contributes to a tit-for-tat impact. This trend will continue as long as the meme battle continues,” said Sharma.
Not all memes have been ignored by authorities. On Monday, the chief election officer of Delhi issued notices to both the AAP and the BJP – to the AAP for an edited video featuring Manoj Tiwari and to the BJP for a parody video titled ‘Paap Ki Adaalat’.
“Any form of communication that has the power to amplify and be recirculated is high in terms of currency. Memes are one such example. In political campaigns, memes have the power to compress information in a form that is easy to consume. It has elements of humour and satire. And they can amplify messages effectively,” said Santosh Desai, brand consultant and columnist.
“This is like a war on social media. We are creating more memes for the coming days. This war will continue,” said Rahul Sharma.