Leveraging Social Media: Narendra Modi’s Successful Prime Ministerial Campaign

Case Details Case Introduction 1 Case Introduction 2 Case Excerpts

<< Previous


The 2014 General Elections

In 2014, India held its sixteenth general elections for the 543 parliamentary constituencies in nine phases stretching over a period of over a month (from April 7 to May 12). Nearly 814.5 million of the 1.2 billion people of India were eligible to vote in the general elections, making it the largest elections ever conducted in the world. The two main coalitions of the country’s parties, the INC-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and the BJP-led NDA competed with each other to form the government. Many regional parties that were not part of either the UPA or the NDA too contested.

Before the announcement of the general elections, the ruling INC had faced many problems in the form of reduced popularity and the rise of local parties. The INC’s traditional South Indian bastion, Andhra Pradesh, had seen the rise of two powerful local parties that reduced its prospects in the state. After having been in power for two consecutive terms, the INC was also suffering from the anti-incumbency factor across the country. Another problem plaguing the INC was the lack of leadership and its policy paralysis.

Marketing Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Marketing, Case Studies
Marketing Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Marketing, Case Studies
PayPal (9 USD)

BJP's Campaign For The Elections

The BJP selected Modi as its candidate for the post of prime minister in September 2013. Even though the general elections were scheduled to be held in the months of April and May of the following year, the BJP wanted to give its prime ministerial candidate enough time to campaign for the polls. Almost immediately after being elected as the prime ministerial candidate for the BJP, Modi started his election campaign. In contrast to the previous election campaigns conducted in India, Modi’s campaign for the general elections depended heavily on the social media. Th.......

Use Of Social Media For Campaigning

In OIn a first for general elections in India, the BJP aggressively used social media to reach its target voter base. The party’s greater presence on social media made voters perceive it as the most digitally visible party in India (Refer to Exhibit III for the most digitally visible Indian political parties). The IT cell of the BJP along with CAG took care of Modi’s campaign on social media. A special ‘social media war room’ with a budget of Rs. 3.5 million was set up to track the digital campaign activities across the country......

Reaching The Bottom

While the BJP could reach the rich urban voters directly with Facebook and Twitter, reaching the low and middle income groups required a different social strategy. In February 2014, BJP started a unique campaign for the general elections called Chai pe Charcha (CPC) (discussion over tea). As part of the CPC campaign, Modi and other senior leaders of the BJP addressed people gathered at over 1,000 tea stalls all over the country. The CPC was essentially a two-way interactive digital platform between the BJP’s top leadership and the voters......

A Spectacular Victory

The results for the general elections were declared on May 16, 2014, after the votes cast by 537 million voters across the country were counted. The BJP-led NDA coalition swept the polls by winning 329 seats. More importantly, BJP itself won 282 seats and crossed the half-way mark of 272 seats to form the next government. The party won 31 percent of the total votes polled across the country. The results marked a shift from the coalition governments that had been ruling India for three decades preceding the general elections of 2014. No single political party in India had been able to form a government on its own without support from allies since the general elections of 1984. For the BJP, the results marked its emergence as a viable alternative to the INC at the national level nearly 60 years after independence. .......

Looking Ahead

After the landslide victory in the Indian General Elections of 2014, the BJP cemented its role as a national level political party that could win a majority on its own. The party was gearing up to face elections in five key Indian states. Many analysts were expecting the BJP to deploy the same social media strategy for the elections in these states. It was felt that CAG, which had played such an important role in the campaign, might also play a crucial role in the state elections. However, some political observers were of the view that CAG might be disbanded after the general elections. The members of CAG were themselves unsure about the future of their group........


Exhibit I:Number of Internet Users in India
Exhibit II: Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential Campaign
Exhibit III:Most Digitally Visible Indian Political Parties during the Campaign
Exhibit IV: Highlights of Narendra Modi’s Campaign
Exhibit V: Top Three Politicians by Facebook Likes
Exhibit VI: Final Results of 2014 General Elections