Here’s what happened inside BJP supporters’ WhatsApp groups on counting day
8:15 am, May 23. As first round of voting numbers started trickling in on the Election Commission (EC) website, a screenshot by a WhatsApp user in a Mumbai group of BJP supporters got members of the group worried — it showed Mumbai South result as declared in Shiv Sena’s favour.
The verdict was what the WhatsApp group wanted but the worry was how could results come in so soon. But that was probably one of the few worrying points for BJP’s many WhatsApp groups.
To be a part of a BJP WhatsApp group during the counting day was akin to being in a huge celebration party that frequently got disorderly. Some of the content though was off-colour. As trends showing a BJP reelection solidified between 10 am and 11 am, the question shifted to — how much. The oft-quoted “teen sau paar” (300+) became a consensus. The jokes soon followed.
One wrote: “Not only EVMs, even TV remotes have been hacked — whichever button we press, it shows a NDA victory!!” Then there was a saffron-coloured sticker — “Keep calm, and Jai Shri Ram” —shared multiple times in multiple groups.
This was followed by an endless supply of memes, short videos, songs and jokes. One of the most shared memes showed an image of Narendra Modi, dressed in saffron and waving, with a copy that read: “Raj tilak ki karo tayyari, aa rahe hain bhagwadhari” (Get ready for the coronation, saffronites are coming).
Once NDA’s lead hit 340, it was time for more fun, with the mocking of Nehru-Gandhis — Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka — being the most popular theme. One morphed image showed Rahul Gandhi riding a cycle, with Sonia riding pillion and Priyanka on the handlebar. Another image punned on a biscuit brand name — a photo of a dejected-looking Rahul with the caption, Haarle-G.
Amethi Updates Every 5 Minutes
There was even one meme that showed a delighted Jawaharlal Nehru asking Rahul Gandhi whether justice has been done, a reference to Congress’s proposed NYAY scheme. The Hindi script, as was the case in many memes in many languages, also included an expletive.
“How’s the khauf (fear)?” one graphic asked, under a photo of Opposition leaders. The play, obviously, on ‘How’s the josh’, the much used line from the movie Uri. A morphed image showed Sonia Gandhi, Mayawati and Mamata Banerjee dressed in saffron and green sarees. Then attention shifted to Amethi. There were updates of vote counting in Amethi every 5 minutes, and cheers every time Smriti Irani increased her lead.
And not just Rahul, BJP supporters’ WhatsApp groups were keeping an eye on other Opposition ‘dynasts’ as well. Congress’ Jyotiraditya Scindia, who lost from Guna, JDS’ Nikhil Kumaraawamy, who lost from Mandya, Vaibhav Gehlot, who lost from Jodhpur, were among those tracked —and mocked at.
Modi’s massive mandate naturally attracted many memes. One showed an image of Modi with a caption that used the brand of an anti-burn cream: 100% Swadeshi…chamcho, chapluso ke….jalan me turant rahat (quick relief from sycophants, slavish followers)