Politicians have taken to Instagram like ducks to water. This social media platform allows them to post a plethora of images to project their personalities
Move over Facebook and Twitter, photo sharing platform Instagram is more happening in the world of social media. Celebrities from all over the world post pictures on a regular basis on Instagram to connect with millions of fans. So how can our politicians be far behind?
From sharing selfies to displaying their passion for photography and painting, Instagram is used by different politicians in their own way to connect with millennials and first-time voters, not on a political but on a more personal level, ahead of the 2019 general elections. So, here’s where our politicians are hashtagging away, one post at a time.
You may know Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani from saas-bahu soaps or her controversial decisions and comments as a minister in the Modi cabinet, but on Instagram, you will discover a completely different side of her. She joined in May 2014 and has over 3.7 lakh followers. Her bio reads, “Mother, wife, sister and friend,” and has no mention of her political inclinations or the portfolio she holds in the cabinet, unlike most other politicians who use Instagram.
In all her 348 posts, we get a glimpse of Irani the person more than Irani the politician. Her account is no less than a meme fest that features mostly her own images and she seems to do so with aplomb. While some of it dates back to her days as a television actress, others are fairly new, with occasional quotes on life.
Like any other normal working individual, she too suffers from Monday blues after a long weekend holiday, as her photo captions seem to suggest.
Irani is also quite a foodie, and like most such people, clicks pictures of her food before taking a bite. There are delicacies like pasta and four-cheese ravioli, but like any other Indian, her comfort food is Maggi. We are also told that what she enjoys the most is ‘Ma ke haath ka khaana’ (Mother’s cooking).
Like most of us, Irani is an avid fan of Game of Thrones, as she shares posts and memes on her account related to the series. One post suggests that she is eagerly waiting for the final season of the fantasy series. She also seems to be an Avengers fan, as many of her posts suggest.
Her bio suggests that she is quite a loving wife and mother. She posts the latest photos and also the old ones, with her husband and certainly does not shy away from PDA (public display of affection). Sharing several photos with her son and daughter, she comes off as quite a doting mother.
Giving us glimpses of her other hobbies — from farming to playing carrom —it seems that she manages to take out time for all.
Giving her quite a competition is the official account of the Indian National Congress, with its tongue in cheek memes and videos.
Leaving no opportunity to take a dig at other parties (read BJP), the page is more of a meme carnival and not many posts that would update people about the workings of INC.
Following trends, the account even posts contest alerts but with a twist. “Find 10 of the many scams of the Modi Govt and get a chance to win ₹10,000. Hint: Visit www.corruptmodi.com.” This post is accompanied by a crossword photo that consists of the several ‘scams’ of the incumbent government, alleged by the Congress.
With a whopping 1.8 crores followers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi undeniably wears the crown for the most followed political leader of the world, according to social media survey website Twiplomacy.com.
Debuting on Instagram in 2014, his activity has been steadily growing as election days approach. Keeping up with the trends, he puts up stories of his campaign across countries and makes it interactive by asking people to send in their photos which later get featured on his account.
Consumed by a chronic case of wanderlust, his pictures will put any travel blogger’s account to shame.
With perhaps, a dedicated team of professional photographers, all his clicks have been taken in stunning picturesque backgrounds, and each of them will make your best profile pictures look lame in comparison.
His Instagram posts are a testament to all his tours, both domestic and overseas, and his endless love for selfies, just like any other millennial. Modiji makes it a point to don the traditional attire of the place he travels to — be it the Punjabi pagdi, the Assamese bamboo hat or the Ladakhi traditional dress — and never forgets to post all these pictures. Modi’s love for yoga is quite well known with his famous World Yoga Day celebrations, which are televised all over the country. On his profile too, we can see the PM performing different asanas; he even posted a picture of his morning yoga routine for the #HumfittohIndiaFit challenge.
But what Modi certainly loves, like any average Indian, is clicking and posting selfies with Bollywood and cricket celebrities. From Akshay Kumar to Priyanka Chopra to Virat Kohli, Modi loves sharing the frame every now and then with celebrities. In fact, his recent selfie with a myriad of Bollywood stars — comprising the likes of Vicky Kaushal, Rajkumar Rao, Ranveer Singh, Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt — went absolutely viral on the internet. Gathering a massive 29 lakh likes, it became the most liked photo posted by a world leader on Instagram.
Not only celebrities, Modi also has a penchant of taking photos with other world leaders — be it with Donald Trump in the White House or with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at Delhi’s Sunder Nursery.
Equally replete with photos of himself and his campaign, what sets Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s account apart from Modi’s is probably his ‘candid’ photos – not staring directly into the camera.
While Modi loves to capture the beauty of the different places he has visited, Gandhi seems to be quite fond of documenting his journey or rather himself in his mode of commute. From photos in buses to aeroplanes, his account has it all.
What sets Instagram apart is the feature to edit your photographs using the numerous in-built filters, and Rahul Gandhi seems to be a master in applying these filters, while editing his pictures.
A glimpse at his profile, and you will see how Gandhi is a family man, and extremely proud of his rich political heritage. There are a lot of old pictures of Rajiv Gandhi and Indira Gandhi — as he shares his memories with his father and grandmother in the captions.
His love for his mother and sister too, is evident, as he posts many pictures with them. In one post, he is seen celebrating Holi with mother Sonia Gandhi, smeared with colours all over his face. In another short video, he introduced his followers to another member of his family — his dog Pidi. In the video, Rahul shows a smart trick that Pidi pulls off and gets a treat in return. It can melt any animal lover’s heart.
Scrolling through his account, one simply cannot ignore his interaction with the public – a common trait in most of his photos — be it at his rallies or any of his visits.
Posing with the staff and other customers at Richie Rich, an ice cream parlour in Bangalore where he ended his campaign in the city, his caption reads, “The ice cream here is amazing.… Look forward to being back soon.”
Making full use of Instagram, he doesn’t leave any chance to take a ‘slight’ jab at his arch nemesis. Posting a photo with Abhinandan Pathak, better known as the doppelganger of Modi, his caption goes, “Look who I found campaigning for the Congress party in Chhattisgarh,” with a smug emoji.
When he joined in March 2016, his first post had a mere 600 likes. Now with over 80,000 likes on his post, his fan following has increased substantially.
RJD leader and Lalu Prasad Yadav’s son, Tej Pratap Yadav’s Instagram account is probably one of the most entertaining one among the accounts of other politicians. His bio reads a lengthy detail of his political posts, along with mentioning ‘actor and model’.
His love for the gym and working out is clearly visible from his profile. Posting several photos of his work out sessions and selfies with protein supplements, junior Yadav surely loves to literally flex his muscles in front of the camera.
Staying true to the latter part of his bio, Tej Pratap posts macho selfies with his biker jacket, gelled hair and different shades of sunglasses. He even occasionally posts Tik Tok and slow-motion videos — one in which he is walking out of the water in Juhu Beach – a la James Bond — with dramatic music playing in the background. Sometimes, he even posts such videos with his RJD-clan.
Aside from this, Yadav also seems to be quite a spiritual person. Clad in a white kurta pyjama with a peacock feather on his head, he serenades us with photos and videos of him playing the flute, along with dozens of cows in the background, thus paying an ode to his undying devotion for Krishna. Sometimes, he transforms into Lord Shiva, where he edits videos of himself meditating at the foot of Mt Kailash — with Om Namah Shivaay playing in the background.
Another leader who seems to be a fitness freak is Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju — and his posts are bound to give youngsters major fitness goals. Along with his frequent gym clicks, he also posts photos and videos displaying his love for cycling.
Considered BJP’s face of the North-East, Rijiju’s profile is studded with breath-taking pictures of the hilly areas of the region, which will make you want to immediately pack your bags and leave for a trip to the North-East.
He also has a special place in his heart for vintage Hindi songs and movies, as is evident from his account. Mohammad Rafi and Meena Kumari seem to be his favourites.
Far removed from his controversial political stance as a Shiv Sena leader, Uddav Thakeray’s Instagram account is a treasure trove of breath-taking photographs. His account showcases his amazing skills as a professional photographer, which has even earned him many international accolades.
From jaw dropping wildlife photography to stunning scenic landscapes, his captures will leave you mesmerised. Not only nature, but he also takes portraits of ordinary people from different walks of life, along with stunning celebrity portraits of the likes of Amjad Ali Khan, Zakir Hussain and Amitabh Bachchan.
Quite new to the block as compared to her contemporaries, it has only been over two months for Mamata Banerjee on Instagram.
Only 59 posts old, her account is a mix of everything. From posting throwback black and white photos of her young campaign days to posting photos of the very recent United India rally, her account has it all.
Not only political, her posts also showcase her well known passion for painting, with photographs of some of her very own works. Apart from painting, her posts also show her playing a few musical instruments in between her campaigns.