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Business Standard Reports That Rahul Gandhi Searched More Than Narendra Modi, Then Pulls Down Story

Between 2017 and 2018, Gandhi’s popularity also grew significantly in western and central India.

Business Standard on Sunday, January 13 mysteriously pulled down an article titled “Rahul or Modi, who is more searched in India? Here’s what Google data shows” published on Tuesday, January 8The article suggested that data shows a smart mix of social media tactics, use of technology, and recent poll wins have significantly pushed Rahul Gandhi‘s graph up on Google News searches.

The website now states “there are various ways to search for ‘most searched politician’ and in some other methods Prime Minister Narendra Modi is ahead of Rahul Gandhi”. Business Standard

After the article was withdrawn. The screenshot is taken from Business Standard website.

The full text, however, is still available on google cache and is reproduced here.

“Congress President Rahul Gandhi has emerged as the most searched politician in the online news segment, beating his political nemesis Prime Minister Narendra Modi. According to Google Trends, on a scale of 0-100, Rahul scored 45, while Modi scored 34 between January 1, 2018, and January 6, 2019. In December 2018, Rahul Gandhi (44 worldwide, 49 in India) was ahead of Modi (35 worldwide, 38 in India) in terms of search on Google News. As we inch closer to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, it appears that this election season might not be the one-sided affair 2014 was, with Rahul Gandhi’s popularity oscillating but steadily increasing with each pull-back.

Google Trends records search queries containing keywords related to Modi and Rahul Gandhi and shows the data using graphs. The query numbers are rated on a scale of 0-100.

Interestingly, in 2014, Narendra Modi appeared as the most popular leader by a wide margin, scoring 37 on a scale of 100, compared with Gandhi’s insignificant 4.

Until recently, Gandhi was seen as nowhere close to competitor Modi. Playing on this perception, he was successfully labelled a “Pappu” on social media and, with a certain push from the social media army of the BJP, several memes were churned out. However, in less than a year, there seems to have been an apparent re-branding of Rahul Gandhi. 


While Modi’s popularity remains intact in Gujarat, Gandhi’s has seen a rise in other regions, according to Google Trends. In states like Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, the Gandhi scion seems to have an edge over Modi.

While the Congress leader still has a long way to go, here’s what might have worked in his favour.

Rahul Gandhi’s Twitter push

Between January and April 2018, the median count of Gandhi’s retweets was consistently higher than the median retweet counts of Modi, according to a study by University of Michigan. What’s interesting to note is that the Congress party president’s Twitter following, at only 7.6 million, is dwarfed by Modi’s 44 million followers.

Congress party’s series of defeats and win

In 2017, Congress had suffered a huge defeat in Uttar Pradesh, where the party had contested elections in a pre-poll alliance with the Samajwadi Party. Rahul Gandhi received flak for his party’s dismal performance. The party was triumphant in Punjab, but the credit for the win went to Captain Amarinder Singh.

Things began changing for Gandhi towards the end of 2017 and this momentum continued through 2018. In the Gujarat election, the Congress also gave Modi a fright of sorts in his home state. Gandhi was then appointed the party chief.

Rahul’s rise in western and central India

Between 2017 and 2018, Gandhi’s popularity also grew significantly in western and central India. This could be correlated to the Congress’s victory in the recent Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Rahul becomes more tech-savvy

Modi has always been a political tech geek. He used the internet in its early days of rise in politics and was one of the first political leaders to get on to Facebook and Twitter. But Congress, which won three crucial state elections last month, may be catching up. The Congress’s digital game has stepped up over the past two years or so, with party president Rahul Gandhi, by some metrics, giving Modi a run for his money on Twitter.

Ahead of deciding the CM candidates for Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, Gandhi, through an audio message, asked 730,000 party workers across the three states to name their chief ministerial choice. In the audio, he is heard taking opinion from his party workers for the chief ministerial candidate.

“I want to ask you a vital question: Who should be the CM? Please mention just one name. No one, except me, would know whom you are naming. Please speak after the beep”.

This new tech-savvy Gandhi seems to have dipped into PM Narendra Modi’s own bag of tricks to zoom past his arch-rival on the Google News search index. But the man still have a long distance to cover -– Google Trends records show that Modi is still the most sought-after politician in ‘web search’.”

Also read: Who is More Popular on Twitter, Rahul Gandhi or Narendra Modi?

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