Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes seems to have backfired. Besides anger on the streets and confusion in markets, Modi also appears to be facing a backlash on Twitter – a medium where he has ruled the roost for long.
Modi’s twitter following fell by over 3 lakh on 9 November, a day after he made the announcement on national television.
According to data available through the analytical service Twitter Counter, Modi lost 3.13 lakh Twitter followers on Wednesday 9 November.
According to Trackalytics, Modi’s Twitter following fell by 3.18 lakh in one day
With 23.8 million followers, Modi is the most followed Indian on Twitter, a little ahead of actor Amitabh Bachchan, who has 23.3 million followers. This dip is abnormal as Modi’s following has been constantly increasing.
In November itself, Modi’s followers on Twitter have increased by around 25,000 every day. On 8 November, the day of the announcement, the increase was even higher – close to 50,000. But Modi’s announcement that the Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes will now be illegal tender, turned the tide.
Take a look at the following graph which shows a constant increase since September, with this sudden dip on 9 November.
Modi’s following has been consistently increasing for the past 2 months, until 9 November.
Normally, the only time such sudden fall in followers takes place is when Twitter removes fake Twitter handles. But that should have led to a decrease in the number of followers for other political leaders as well. That hasn’t been the case. For instance, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s followers and those of Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi have increased in the past couple of days.
If the dip in followers is indeed linked to the new demonetisation policy, it is a worrying sign for the BJP.
It would be safe to assume that the backlash to the policy outside the virtual world would be much greater.
With inputs from Amit Kumar Bajpai and Sahil Bhalla