Who’s the most popular?
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath and his predecessor Akhilesh Yadav have often run into spats over a gamut of topics, be it taking credit for development projects in the state or berating each other’s regime as anarchic. However, the rout in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and flight of senior party leaders to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party have gradually taken the wind out of the Samajwadi Party’s (SP's) sails. Nonetheless, micro-blogging site Twitter has provided some ammunition to the SP cadres, who are claiming an upper hand over Adityanath. The former chief minister's followers on Twitter have hit the figure of 10 million when compared to nearly 5.3 million of Adityanath’s followers. Ever since, the SP cadres have been pro-actively calling Yadav "doubly popular" than Adityanath on the social media.
Social media has become an integral part of our politicians' public relations exercise. Not only the leaders of the parties but even officials are getting increasingly conscious of the image they project on social media platforms. However, it seems the Uttar Pradesh administration has taken it a notch higher. In the last two and a half years of the current regime, as many as two agencies have come and gone with none able to meet the demanding requirement of the government. Sources said talks are on to replace the current (third one) agency with another one soon. However, four different agencies managing the social media footprint of an administration in less than three years makes them vulnerable to goof-ups.
The Jhabua assembly byelection in Madhya Pradesh has become a prestige issue for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress. In this crucial election, candidates fighting for other parties are not relevant ... or so it seems. It is being touted as a head-on contest between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Kamal Nath (pictured). In its campaign, the BJP is focusing on issues like the reading down of Article 370, the surgical strike on alleged terrorist bases in Pakistan earlier this year, and the international stature of Modi. On the other hand, the Congress, the ruling party in the state, is holding up the performance of the state government. The Congress announced five-time MP Kantilal Bhuria as its candidate on Thursday. With 114 MLAs, the party is two short of a majority. If it wins the bypoll from the seat held earlier by the BJP, its count will move closer to the majority mark. The BJP won the seat in 2018 but the seat fell vacant after MLA G S Damor was elected to the Lok Sabha.