Lok Sabha election: Memes take over social media, sparking digital poll battles and raising voter awareness

As the nation prepares for Friday’s elections, colorful memes—many of which include comedic aspects from well-known Bollywood films—have taken to social media, serving as a vehicle for criticizing political rivals and educating voters.

There will be seven stages to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, and major political parties have been attempting to outsmart each other in both in-person and virtual rallies.

Prior to the elections, social media sites such as Instagram and X had seen intense competition between users over political memes and posters.

However, in the midst of this digital chaos, the Election Commission of India (ECI), which is preparing for the biggest elections ever, has used memes to connect with voters, particularly young people and those who are voting for the first time. The memes sometimes use funny quotes or dialogue from well-known films to emphasize their points.

“We are eager to cast our votes in the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections.” Are you prepared as well?”Excitement of first-time voters before voting: #SaathChalenge #Elections2024 #ChunavKaParv #DeshKaGarv #FirstTimeVoters #ECI,” the ECI said on X on Thursday. The meme was based on a still from a moment in the movie “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani.”

To encourage people to cast ballots and exercise their right to vote, the ECI posted a number of postings and digital posters on X on the eve of the first round of polling. Additionally, it reshared a joke about the movie “Gangubai Kathiawadi” that Doordarshan released on Thursday. Additionally, it used an old Amul billboard for the 2024 elections with the punny caption, “World’s greatest elections! Amul is your top option.

Rajiv Kumar, the Chief Election Commissioner, also sent a message on Thursday via a digital banner on the ECI’s X account.

“CEC encourages all voters to cast ballots in the #GeneralElections2024 with their loved ones by their side. The message read, “#IVote4Sure, #ChunavKaParv, #DeshKaGarv, #YouAreTheOne, #SaathChalenge.”

The Commission has also used memes to raise awareness in the last few days. On April 11, for example, it shared a humorous meme topic inspired by the web series “The Family Man,” which had internet users in stitches.

Experts claim that because memes and humor appeal to young people, they may have the intended influence on these voters’ minds, which is important since the poll panel wants to increase participation.

The first round of the elections is set to take place in 102 seats spanning 21 states and Union territories. Union ministers Nitin Gadkari, Sarbanada Sonowal, and Bhupendra Yadav, as well as Gaurav Gogoi of the Congress, Kanimozhi of the DMK, and K Annamalai of the BJP, are among the candidates.

There are 8,4 crore male voters, 8.23 crore female voters, and 11,371 third-gender voters. There are 3.51 crore young voters in the 20–29 age bracket in addition to 35.67 lakh first-time voters.

In the ongoing “NDA vs. INDIA” contest, the governing BJP and the opposition parties Congress and AAP, who are both a member of the INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) bloc, have outwitted one another using social media and internet platforms.

The AAP released a slew of posters criticizing the current government on X on Thursday.

With a picture of their leader Sanjay Singh, who was just freed from prison, the AAP displayed a digital banner on X that said, “Jaan ki baazi laga denge lekin desh ke samvidhan par aanch nahin aane denge.”

The AAP has been criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi often in recent months in speeches, news conferences, and on social media.

One such digital poster, which was recently released on AAP by X, included a picture of Modi and the phrase “BJP Hatao, Samvidhan Bachao” with the slogan “Modi ko hatana hai kyoniki.”

Together with a few posters promoting its “Jail ka Jawab Vote se” campaign and the hashtag #JailKaJawabVoteSe, the Arvind Kejriwal-led party also put some information on X on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the AAP unveiled its “Aap Ka Ramrajya” Lok Sabha campaign website and posted its advertisements on X as well.

The AAP posted a video meme on X on March 15th, ridiculing the BJP over electoral bonds. In other postings, the party referred to its manifesto, Sankalp Patra, as a “Jumla Patra” rather than a “Ghoshna Patra.”

Images and phrases like “Modi ki Guarantee” and “Vikas Bhi, Virasat Bhi” have taken center stage on the BJP’s social media feeds; they are also heavily featured in their manifesto.

The Congress made a subtle jab at the governing BJP on Thursday by posting a video on X with the satirical caption, “Berozgari bahut hai, Baki sab thik hai.”

The venerable party also released a poster on X on April 17 with a funny caption criticising Prime Minister Modi.

On Friday, voting will take place from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. More than 16.63 crore voters will exercise their right to vote at the 1.87 lakh polling places where the Election Commission has stationed nearly 18 lakh poll workers.

The meme wars may only grow more vicious from this point on until their last phase on June 1, even though the polls will begin on April 19.

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