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.
Sushma Swaraj is an Indian politician and a leading member of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Serving as a member of parliament for the sixth term, currently she is the leader of opposition in the 15th Lok Sabha. She became the youngest cabinet minister for Haryana, at the age of 25 years and also held the position of the first woman chief minister of Delhi in 1998. She has been elected six times as a Member of Parliament and three times as a Member of the Legislative Assembly. Considered as the leader of the next generation, Sushma Swaraj entered the political fray as a student leader and got actively involved in campaigning against the emergency imposed by the government of Indira Gandhi.
An exceptional speaker and campaigner, she has held several important ministries in state as well as Centre. In 1996, she took a revolutionary step of live telecasting of Lok Sabha debates in her capacity as the Union Cabinet Minister for Information and Broadcasting. In 2004, she courted controversy by vowing to shave off her head if Mrs Gandhi was elected as the country’s prime minister. In the last general elections 2009, Sushma Swaraj scored a comprehensive victory from Vidisha with a margin of 3.89 lakh votes. The list of her achievements and accolades is too long, Her political career graph thus is an accurate manifestation of her crucial role in Indian politics.
At present Sushma Swaraj is the All India Secretary of Bharatiya Janata Party and also the official spokesperson of the party. She is BJP’s most powerful woman leader and was touted to be one of the leading contenders to become BJP’s Prime Ministerial Candidate for General Elections 2014. She is a role model for all young women who aspire to tread the path of Indian politics.
Sushma Swaraj is one of the star campaigners for BJP and has been in lime light because of her stance to protect the senior leaders from ignorance and disdain in the party. While she openly supports Narendra Modi as the PM Candidate for BJP, she has also criticised the prospect of alienating some of the senior most leaders from main stream electoral politics. She is contesting the 2014 general elections from Vidisha constituency in Madhya Pradesh.
Since Bharatiya Janta Party considers social media as a key component to their election campaign mix, Sushma Swaraj also entered the digital world in 2010 to support the party’s initiatives and build a social media presence to connect with the new and existing voting populace. Her communication strategy on twitter is very straight forward and to the point. She posts her opinion over current happenings, shares videos of her speeches on important issues and pictures of her achievements in the past. Lets’ gain a deeper understanding on how she fares on Social Media and whether her online campaigns are enough to sustain the buzz created by the massive digital media campaign under the leadership of Narendra Modi.
Sushma Swaraj used to be very active on Twitter till the month of February but as the dates of election draw in closer her activity on twitter has reduced drastically probably after the misquote of a controversial Tweet by NDTV which was never posted by her. Otherwise her tweets contain a commentary of proceedings in Lok Sabha, videos of her speech on national issues, her opinions over policy making and snapshots of her work in the past. Although there is no definitive strategy for her content on twitter, she has managed to reach out to over 10 lac followers. The count might seem low as compared to the popular leaders like Narendra Modi, Arvind Kejriwal but it is way too higher than several other prominent leaders from BJP, Congress and AAP
Content Strategy and Engagement
The content strategy for Sushma Swaraj on twitter is very simple and straight forward. It is not linked to BJP’s campaign. Tweets include a commentary of current happenings, her statements on issues of national importance, attack on the ruling government for discrepancies in the proceedings.
At several occasions she has also expressed her disagreement on decisions taken by the party with regards to General Elections 2014 be it the inclusion of tainted leaders or the exclusion of some senior leaders from the main stream electoral politics.
Apart from this she gives an account of her achievements in the past and shares videos of her speeches.
Overall the content on twitter emulates her personality offline. The tone of communication is exactly similar to her demeanour. Her expression of speech online is very open and without any apprehensions. There is a lag in her content strategy as she does not align her communication with that of current campaigns run by BJP and Narendra Modi. She is a very good orator but she could not capitalize much on the capabilities of the medium probably because of lack of interest or undervaluation of the medium’s potential in the long run.
Since there is no activity from the past few months total engagement on her twitter account and the engagement as % of followers is really low.
Despite of the low follower count and her prolonged absence from the medium she is still getting a lot of mentions, which shows how popular she is amongst political circles and followers. She gets several hundred mentions every day.
Although the frequency of tweets posted from her account is drastically low, the content posted is spot on. She voices out her strong opinions loud and clear without any second thoughts. She gives valuable insights on the proceedings in Lok Sabha over policy formulation which is awaited by most of the media houses and curious citizens across twitter.
On Facebook , Sushma Swaraj has about 4 lac followers but surprisingly she is not active on the medium. The Facebook Timeline marks the years of her achievements along with a few posts in the year 2012.
Till date she has just posted 4 videos and one picture on Facebook her last post was seen on Dec 27, 2012 but still on an average 70,000 people are talking about her. A metric which defines her remarkable popularity amongst online citizens. As a result of her inactivity on the medium the total engagement and engagement % as of followers is negligible.
Google Plus and YouTube
Sushma Swaraj has a formal presence on Google Plus with 88 followers and 336 views. On Youtube there is a channel which takes feeds from other channels and shares videos featuring Sushma Swaraj over several occasions. The channel is again not managed properly and has just 1053 subscribers. The BJP Youtube channel has more videos of Sushma Swaraj’s speeches, messages to the women of India on Womens Day and so on.
Hindu leads all the way in terms of mentions for Sushma Swaraj in online publications followed by NDTV and IBN Live. The Hindu, DNA and First Post features positive sentiments owing to her appreciation of Narendra Modi’s leadership qualities. She also accepted him as BJP’s PM candidate graciously. On the other NDTV, IBN Live and Indian Express carry a negative sentiment because of her harsh criticism on the misquote and misrepresentation of facts from these media channels specially the Twitter controversy where in NDTV released a malign tweet quoting her. Other online publications like Deccan Herald, New Indian Express and Times of India have a highly neutral sentiment altogether for her.
Analysis of the sentiment by date suggests that Sushma Swaraj usually has a very neutral sentiment altogether. The negativity around sentiments on 25th and 27th of April comes from the derogatory remarks against her by Congress candidate Madhusudan Mistry from Vadodara. The positive sentiments emerge from her appreciation of Narendra Modi and the encouraging prediction of BJP winning all 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat.
Overall Sushma Swaraj enjoys a highly neutral sentiment (90.4%) across online media platforms. The slight negativity can be attributed to the derogatory remarks made against her and the UPA powered attacks on Narendra Modi/Gujarat Model of Development. The positive sentiment is a bit less probably because of her prolonged absence from the online medium but there is no denying in the fact that she is the most popular leader from BJP after Narendra Modi.
Sushma Swaraj has been able to build a social media presence effortlessly. While the amount of efforts spent on the medium is very low relatively, the number of followers and mentions for her shares a different story altogether. This evidence is enough to prove her popularity amongst the online citizens. Her digital strategy should focus on being vocal over social media platforms rest everything will fall in place. With long list of her achievements in administration and governance she can play a major role in encouraging young women to join politics. She has tried to justify her presence on twitter but she needs to update tweets on a regular basis moreover she should align her content with that of BJP’s national campaign. Again she really needs to work on Facebook for her background and prowess content development is an easy task she just has to disseminate it on a regular basis.
The amount of popularity she has received without attempting any major campaign on social media is commendable. The stage is set for her to engage with followers across the medium, gain votes by tangible conversions and strengthen her image as the most powerful woman leader BJP has ever seen.
Sushma Swaraj is undoubtedly a political personality with a knack of getting her voice heard and one of the strongest female politicians in the arena. Her direct and in-the-face speeches have gone a long way in getting her idolized as the superwoman of Indian politics.
Being vociferous, she has expressed various concerns and disinterests within the party but at the same time she has also been the torch-bearer, itching to sort out various issues from the core.
Being relatively inactive on social media off-late and still managing to be one of the most mentioned politician, speaks enough of her political prowess. Her aggressive campaigning for her party and the prime ministerial candidate reflects her commitment and strong intent that can have a considerable impact in political circles.