Digital Campaign in an Underdeveloped Region: The 2020 Bihar Assembly Elections

Although several countries have held elections during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bihar assembly polls will probably be the largest election with 72.9 million voters, followed by the 2020 US Presidential election. Given the rising number of coronavirus cases not only in the state of Bihar but across the country, which limits face-to-face interactions, digital campaigns are going to play a vital role. The traditional ways of canvassing have to be replaced by new modes of campaigning. Political parties have already started designing their digital campaigns to reach the maximum number of voters. In this election, we are studying the campaign ads of political parties on Facebook and Instagram. All major political parties in Bihar –  Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Indian National Congress (INC), Janata Dal United (JD(U)) have been advertising heavily on Facebook and Instagram. The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has officially not advertised on Facebook and Instagram, but some RJD leaders such as Madhu Singh, Parwez Alam, Dharmendra Kumar, Nand Kumar Rai and others have bought campaign ads. While the RJD has not yet bought any official ads on Facebook and Instagram, they have been actively campaigning on these platforms. For example, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav has been actively posting videos and messages on his public Facebook page but has not bought any campaign ads to promote those messages.


Published by Taberez A. Neyazi

I am Assistant Professor of Political Communication and New Media and Director of Digital Campaign Asia at the Department of Communications and New Media, National University of Singapore.

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