Guess who the prime minister follows
The list of the 60 entities the PMO follows on Twitter doesn't include any industrialist or any entity from the fields of films and sports. Nivedita Mookerji reports.
That the world is tracking Prime Minister Narendra Modi on social media is much spoken about. But whom does the prime minister keep track of?
The prime minister’s official handle at micro-blogging site Twitter (PMOIndia) follows senior ministers in Union Cabinet, various Congress leaders (Kapil Sibal, Shashi Tharoor, Manish Tewari, etc), foreign counterparts (such as those of the United States, Russia, Japan and Singapore), Doordarshan, All India Radio, the Comptroller & Auditor General and the Planning Commission, whose future has become uncertain since the Modi government came to power.
The list of the 60 entities the PMO follows doesn’t include any industrialist or any entity from the fields of films and sports.
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Image: Prime Minister Narendra Modi takes a 'selfie'
Photographs: Amit Dave/Reuters
Modi's personal Twitter handle is more inclusive
Modi’s personal Twitter handle, however, is much more inclusive. It’s here that he follows industrialists Ratan Tata, Anand Mahindra, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and Bill Gates; US President Barack Obama; spiritual leader Dalai Lama; Bollywood actors such as Amitabh Bachchan, Raveena Tandon, Preity Zinta, Simi Garewal and Ajay Devgn; playback singers Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle; musician A R Rahman; cricket stars Sachin Tendulkar and Kapil Dev and badminton sensation Saina Nehwal.
A firm believer in new-age media, Modi, who’s now the fourth most followed world leader on Twitter, tracks Google and YouTube, too. While the most followed leader on the site is Obama, others ahead of Modi are Pope Francis and Indonesian leader S B Yudhoyana.
He also follows a large number of unknown entities -- students and entrepreneurs -- many of whom had shown leanings towards the Bharatiya Janata Party in the pre-election days.
It is learnt the PM’s communication team follows social media trends to capture the mood of the nation. Of the 1,045 entities Modi follows through his personal Twitter handle, many are Indian and global media entities; this, in a way, helps him assess how to click with the masses.
Monday morning, for instance, the PM struck the right chord by pointing out the cost of making Hollywood film Gravity was more than the expenditure on India’s Mars Mission.
According to brand strategist Samit Sinha, Modi’s communication style seems to be very much in line with the US presidential style of politics that he seemed to have followed right through his campaign.
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Image: Narendra Modi felicitates Lata Mangeshkar at a function in Mumbai
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar
Neither the PM nor any other minister follows Kejriwal
While Home Minister Rajnath Singh follows only three entities -- the PMO, the BJP and the home ministry -- External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj doesn’t follow anyone in the Twitter world, though she is followed by 1.29 million. Road and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari, too, doesn’t follow many entities -- only 12, most of them BJP leaders; he is followed by 66,000.
Finance and defence minister Arun Jaitley follows many more -- 161. His list includes BJP colleagues, prominent media, friends and Congressmen such as Shashi Tharoor. The list has just one industrialist -- Ratan Tata.
Though Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman follows 310 entities, there are no traces of business and industry in her list. She tracks Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford World Classic and Brookings Global, besides party biggies such as Jaitley and Amit Shah.
Telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s list of 132 includes Ratan Tata and Anand Mahindra.
Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan follows 37 and his list doesn’t include businessmen. In his last tweet on Sunday, he congratulated Saina Nehwal for winning the Australian Open Super Series title. “It’s a pride, as Nehwal is associated with BPCL (Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd),” he said.
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and human resource development minister Smriti Irani follow 69 and 138 entities, respectively, most BJP leaders.
Neither the PM nor any other minister follows Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal, though some follow a few AAP members. While Modi tracks Meera Sanyal, Sitharaman follows Gul Panag.
Image: AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal