Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal Twitter handle, @narendramodi, tweeted 2,143 messages between October 2018 and March 2019, averaging one tweet every two hours and mentioning the handle of his political party, @BJP4India, 31 times.
As India votes in national elections this month, social media messages are an important campaigning tool for both Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party.
Over the last six months, two subjects attracted the maximum retweets from Modi’s followers: those related to the armed forces after the terror attack on a Central Reserve Police Force convoy in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir that killed 40 personnel in February 2019; and his “Main Bhi Chowkidar” campaign in response to Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s jibe “Chowkidar chor hai” or the watchman is a thief.
In the 182 days to March 2019, Modi tweeted a total of 2,143 times. This makes 12 tweets a day on an average. Month-wise, @narendramodi tweeted 16 times a day on an average in October 2018, which fell to nine tweets in February 2019. In March 2019, just a month to the general elections, he tweeted an average of 11 times a day.
The week of October 15, 2018, was when Modi tweeted the most in the period – 239 times. Of these tweets, 84 included the hashtag #Gandhi150, since it was the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Hashtags and mentions
After #Gandhi150, the prime minister’s second-most-used hashtag was #MannKiBaat (31 times), about his monthly radio show by the same name. The #VoteKar and #MainBhiChowkidar hashtags, promoted in the run-up to the elections, have appeared 16 and 12 times, respectively.
Modi mentioned or tagged other Twitter handles a total of 539 times, of which @BJP4India got the maximum tags. The Twitter handles of BJP for the states of Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh also made the top 10. All three of them had elections in December 2018.
The analysis of hashtags and mentions by Modi exclude retweets (35 out of the 2,143 tweets). However, in the retweets made by him, Republic TV (English and Hindi) were the only media outlets retweeted (nine times), after the channel conducted a recent interview.
Retweets & likes
Modi’s 2,143 tweets had around 7.7 million retweets and 32.4 million likes.
The maximum likes (271,932) and retweets (66,485), at the time the analysis was done, were for the tweet that welcomed Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman back to India, and the fewest (75 and 40, respectively) were for a tweet that was written in Arabic about the performance of a song by a Jordanian singer that expresses love for India and Gandhi.
The tweet with the most likes (160,802) and retweets (56,398) that included a hashtag was the one in which Modi claimed, “Everyone fighting corruption, dirt and social evils and is working hard for the progress of India is Chowkidaar.” It carried the hashtag #MainBhiChowkidaar and a campaign song and video related to it.
Of the top 10 retweeted tweets, four were about the armed forces, all related to the aftermath of the Pulwama incident. Three were about the nation, two of them mentioning the #MainBhiChowkidaar hashtag; two were about the launch of an anti-satellite missile by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, and one was about the death in March of former defence minister Manohar Parrikar.
This article first appeared on IndiaSpend, a data-driven and public-interest journalism non-profit.