The WhatsApp election in India

As the most influential social media platform in many parts of the world, the messaging app can shape a country's political future

Ms Sanjukta Pandey quit her job as a hair and make-up stylist in March to devote herself to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's re-election campaign on social media.

Ms Pandey, a feisty 32-year-old wearing huge hoop earrings, neon pink lipstick and a tattoo of Mr Modi's name on her left forearm, now spends her waking hours spreading his election message on WhatsApp and other social media apps. "I'm online almost 24/7. I don't go to sleep; we want Mr Modi to come back," she says. "You won't see anyone getting inked with Rahul Gandhi's name."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 07, 2019, with the headline 'The WhatsApp election in India'. Print Edition | Subscribe