Features Thursday, June 05, 2014 - 05:30
Monalisa Das| The News Minute| May 18, 2014| 10.47 pm IST Over the last few months, all sorts of platforms witnessed discussions on how Modi had eclipsed the BJP, and some even went to the extent of dismissing the Modi wave as a ‘manufactured’ PR stunt. However, the role of social media that gave Modi a whole new makeover is undeniable. From Facebook posts to tweets, blogs and videos, if anything was close to- if not more- being as influential and compelling as Modi’s speeches at his rallies, it had to be the social media. To campaign on a pan-India level is no easy feat. One such group responsible for successfully building his image across all social public forums is a small group of techies who refer to themselves as team ISM (I Support Modi). With eight core members, and numerous volunteers, the group has worked on the Namo4PM campaign. Three years ago this bunch of eager men, some of them active RSS volunteers, began working relentlessly towards the project. They had worked on the BJP’s website prior to preparing for the Lok Sabha Election 2014, and that is how the party took notice and asked them to take care of Narendra Modi’s social presence. The party never helped them financially though, they say. Most funds came from eager followers and volunteers, and some from their own pockets. It didn't take long enough for their efforts to pay off. Today the ‘I Support Narendra Modi’ page on Facebook has some 2.3 million Likes and around 70,000 people subscribe to the YouTube channel by the same name. Their posts on the micro-blogging site Twitter have continuously generated hits day in day out, including ‘#NDArocks’, which trended for three days successively. But why did a group of software engineers with well paying jobs leading plush lives want to involve themselves in something like this? All for a selfless cause, explains Hitesh Kumar, manager of the group and a TCS employee based in Shimla. “We came from the RSS, and the BJP and us shared similar ideologies”, says Kumar, who has lived a year in Gujarat. The group eventually also moved towards doing ground work, and targeted most metropolitan cities in the nation. The response they received was overwhelming. Surprisingly, the core members are spread across the country; they do not work under the same roof. Most of them have full-time jobs too; and some take leaves when situations call for. “We met just once in 3 years”, quips Kumar. The group at present handles 20 pages of a certain political party and are doing exceedingly well on that front too. Never in their wildest dreams did the group imagine their initiative would bear such results. These men have made a difference “virtually”. Although it was expected of the BJP to come out in flying colours, the sheer magnitude of the victory was “never expected”. The NDA’s historic win is also a victory of sorts for them. Post by I Support Narendra Modi.