Online search giant Yahoo! has named Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah ‘personality of the year’ in its 2017 ‘Year in Review’ for India, released on Friday. In terms of most searched people online, Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems to rule the charts this year, both as the most searched personality and the most searched politician.
Shah’s popularity is believed to have increased many times over after he successfully orchestrated the BJP’s victory in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur Assembly elections, altering India’s political landscape. Prime Minister Modi’s many reform initiatives, including the rollout of the goods and services tax (GST) regime in July this year and the decision to demonetise high-value currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations late last year led to a spike in online searches for his name.
Among other key personality searches during the year have been Honeypreet Insan’s controversial life and Kapil Sharma’s public fallouts. Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli, with his superb form this year, and US President Donald Trump are some other names in the top 10. Actor Sunny Leone has continued to reign as Yahoo India’s most searched female celebrity, while fans of actor Vinod Khanna, who passed away recently, made their icon this year’s most searched male celebrity.
Among politicians, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath made a self-assured entry into the political newsmakers’ list, finding for himself a place beside the likes of PM Modi, and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. His growing political clout took Adityanath out of his home state and into the national spotlight. Another key political name this year was Nirmala Sitharaman, searches for whom zoomed after she was named Union Defence Minister, the first since woman to take that post since Indira Gandhi. President Ram Nath Kovind, Rahul Gandhi, Amit Shah and Sushma Swaraj were other prominent political newsmakers of 2017. Other Indian leaders like Arvind Kejriwal and Sasikala were also, predictably, present on the list.
Yahoo’s India users, who otherwise stuck to Indian leaders and celebs, however, remained riveted by US President Trump after his thunderous entry into the most searched politicians list last year.
Aside from the list of celebrities and public figures and talking of things of everyday importance, Yahoo India users’ top concern was Aadhaar, which topped the list of most searched newsy terms of 2017. Close on its heels was GST, which was also the top business story that shook the nation. Other stories that made it to this list were India’s giant leap of 30 places in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Ranking, and Moody’s Investor Services’ first sovereign rating upgrade for India in 14 years.
Moving to the world of sports, Indian sportswomen and Olympians P V Sindhu, Sakshi Malik and Dipa Karmakar had wrested attention from Cricket to rule as top newsmakers in 2016. This year, while Sindhu continued her stellar run online, cricketer Kohli smashed his way back to the top of Yahoo’s India’s most searched sportspeople. He was joined by his super-charged counterparts from women’s cricket, Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur. Their popularity skyrocketed after the Indian Women’s Cricket Team had an epic run, reaching the finals of the ICC Cricket World Cup.
Yet another interesting trend that ruled the internet in 2017 was that of celeb babies. Bollywood A-listers and sportspersons who welcomed additions to their families, also saw their little ones becoming instant stars online. It caused a flurry online when Bollywood filmmaker Karan Johar announced his twins to the world, after taking the unconventional route to becoming a single father through surrogacy. Yahoo users embraced the news and avidly followed the progress of Yash and Roohi Johar. They also celebrated the arrival of Nidhyana Jadeja alongside her parents Cricketer Ravindra Jadeja and wife Reeva Solanki. Soha Ali Khan and Kunal Kemmu’s daughter Inaaya Naumi Kemmu, and Lisa Haydon and Dino Lalvani’s son Zack Lalvani were among the other news-grabbing tots.
Yahoo India users also stayed glued to their favorite stylish Indians. Relative newbies on this list like Mithali Raj, Jhanvi Kapoor, Athiya Shetty and Mira Rajput held their own alongside style icons like Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh, Malaika Arora, Alia Bhatt, Virat Kohli and Prime Minister Modi. This year’s best dressed male and female celebrities, Priyanka Chopra and Shahid Kapoor, consistently rocked the red carpet. Both crafted distinctive looks that were keenly followed by Yahoo India users.