Nearly 1.5 crore young “digital natives”, most of whom cast their votes for the first time, chose to vote for Narendra Modi as India’s next prime minister and Chinese short video-sharing app TikTok played a great role in creating a “Modi wave” among them.
While the seasoned members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were busy charting out strategies and organising rallies, the younger, tech-savvy karyakartas took charge of expanding Modi’s digital presence across platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter — and TikTok. TikTok, which claims to have over 120 million monthly active users in India, played a crucial part in circulating dialogues, speeches and candid reactions from Modi on smartphones across the length and breadth of the country.
“One day, my Instagram was flooded with TikTok videos showing Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Modi sharing hugs and winks during a Parliament session with ‘Aankh maare, ladka aankh maare’ song playing in the background. It will always be one of my favourites this election season,” Riya Kalwani, content writer said. “Seriously, whoever took the time and energy to make these videos, hats off to them,” she added.
The app-struck young voters took to the platform to record themselves, shouting the famous “Mitro” and “Iss baar fir Modi sarkar” videos, hash-tagged them with social media trends and shared those. After Modi prefixed the word “Chowkidar” before his name on Twitter, TikTokers went berserk. Not just individuals but families recorded themselves imitating Modi’s “Aap aashvast rahiye, aapka ye chowkidar, poori tarah chowkanna hai” dialogue along with videos on the “Mein bhi chowkidar hu” songs.
“So many people did TikTok videos on ‘Zyada se zyada ye mera kya kar lenge? Aree hum toh fakeer aadmi hai, jhola leke chal padenge’ dialogue. It was everywhere. There was also this one where people have dubbed Modi discussing popular daily soap ‘Ye rishta kya kehlata hai.’ Just hilarious,” said Deepika Tiwari, a media student. Another TikTok video that trended showed a TV screen recording of Modi speaking in a session with a paper in hand and his supporters banging the table behind him in agreement along with a famous dialogue from Bollywood movie “Munna Bhai MBBS”: ‘Sir, bahar casualty mei koi marrne ki halat pe raha, toh usko form bharna zaroori hai kya?” In addition to Hindi, several TikTok videos were shared in other regional languages including Bhojpuri, Rajasthani, Gujarati and Bengali. In an interview with Bollywood star Akshay Kumar, Modi said that he enjoys memes on the Internet. The clip became a sensational TikTok topic that floated on social media platforms for quite a while.