This is a part of a series where we pick data from the MTS Election Tracker, crunch numbers and build a graphical representation of them. We have used Konnect Social to track the data along with support from our knowledge partner, Social Rajneeti. Read other articles about Election tracker here.
One of the senior-most leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – currently in the Opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition in Parliament – Lal Krishna Advani has been on the Indian political scene since the 1970s, preceding which as a youth he worked with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in Karachi in Pakistan, his town of birth, and later at other locations.
L K Advani, as he is popularly known, served as Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister between 1998–2004 when the NDA was in power and Atal Bihari Vajpayee was Prime Minister. He has also been the Leader of the Opposition twice in Lok Sabha, and is a lawyer as well.
Having literally seen the evolution of the BJP since its inception, Advani’s most popular moments in the news have mainly referenced his extreme right wing ideologies, such as the Rath Yatra he undertook in 1990 to mobilise karsevaks to converge on the Babri Masjid (which was soon after controversially demolished), which he claimed to be the Ram Janmabhoomi; he has undertaken several rath yatras since.
Additionally, more recent reports of him not quite being close to BJP’s current Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi have also kept him peripherally in the eye of the storm. Advani, a previously powerful leader in party circles, was BJP’s official PM candidate in the 2009 general elections, but had to make way for Modi in 2014, a fact he did not reportedly take kindly too. However, he chose to stay on unlike other senior party leaders, and is now in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections contesting – it was initially said reluctantly – as their candidate from Gandhinagar in Gujarat.
A Wordcloud of the most recent online search phrases associated with Advani suggests that he is mainly referenced with regard to his party, as well as Modi, with whom he has reportedly not seen eye to eye. Next in line, one can find references of Advani in the context of the opposition Congress and their leaders.
Twitter & Facebook
While there are several fan as well as parody accounts in Advani’s name on the most popular social networks, the octogenarian politician himself has not found it necessary to officially initiate accounts there just yet. Given that several of his peers – if not his age, at least approaching it – are on Facebook and Twitter, as well as given the massive support his party has seen online, the senior politician would probably receive a decent response from some active engagement with online fans and followers.
Elsewhere on social media
Similarly, repeating his lack of presence on major social networking sites Facebook and Twitter, Advani is also not present on a host of other such sites, that include Google +, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, or any other.
The only other online forum where his presence is indicated is an official blog since 2009 with personal as well as political snippets around his ideologies, family, campaign trails, media clippings, and more.
While Advani has more or less no actual active official presence on social media, he has garnered a sufficient amount of web mentions over the past week, with 261 web mentions out of which 15 have been negative mentions. This means that the % negative of mentions stands in the realm of 5.75%, which is a fairly decent figure.
Overall sentiment for Advani seems to range at a comfortable 89.7% neutral sentiment with yellow dominating the pie chart, and a mostly equal measure of positive and negative sentiment in the remaining 10.3%, which is much better than some politicos that seem to be working only with negative sentiment these days.
A date wise view of the sentiment around Advani takes us through a largely neutral and fairly stable graph till the end of the week, when a slew of neutral information comes up about him, when he cast his vote in Gujarat and parried questions about Modi. Mid-week, a mix of positive and negative sentiment is also seen cutting into the neutral.
Sentiment by date
From the main websites that seem to be charting sentiment, the Deccan Herald, Indian Express and Times of India lead the pack, with the latter two mixing neutral with negative sentiment, and the former keeping it only neutral. Next in line is The Hindu, which mixes up some positive sentiment as well into the negative and neutral. The New Indian Express and Economic Times are on the same level when it comes to reportage, but while negative sentiment is apparent in the former, positive sentiment is clearly seen in the latter. Next in line are Zee News and DNA (also some positive sentiment involved here), and last on the list with minimum coverage is IBN Live.
Top websites charting sentiment
L K Advani, as an octogenarian politician, could be perceived to be in the prolific twilight of his political career by some – but surely this does not necessitate an absolute lack of presence in the social network realm, which today has become one of the most important ways for a politician to communicate with the masses. A larger presence on Twitter and Facebook might even help him connect anew with the kind of young vote bank that may currently disregard him in some ways, and despite several politicians taking to social networks in the run-up to the 2014 LS polls, this is one politico who does not seem to have done so.
L K Advani, the senior most leader in the BJP fraternity and a prime ministerial candidature aspirant in the past, has seen the party’s rise and its constant struggle to become a reckoning force in the centre.
Often spoken of in the same breath as Narendra Modi, his political insights are something that the party can bank upon at any given time. His absence on social media might be his personal choice but that does not take away the great amount of experience he carries along with him.
With his detractors taking advantage of his drift with Narendra Modi, he has maintained a respectable position in the party’s ongoings since always. The party would have had a stronger impact on the current political scenario had Mr. Advani graced social media with open arms.