Failure of BJP IT Cell on YouTube, millions of dislike on PM’s Mann ki Baat

On Sunday, August 30, the official YouTube channel of the BJP uploaded the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Mann Ki Baat with the Nation, August 2020 video and the response has been politically surprising. The video has reported 1.5 lakh dislikes in less than 12 hours. While YouTube video dislikes have been a recent phenomenon in India which started with the YouTube vs Tiktok war and more recently the rage of people against Alia Bhatt and the dislikes on Sadak 2 movie trailer, making sure that the movie suffers immensely with the IMDB ratings. This is reflective of similar circumstances building up for the BJP and making it evident that it might be BJP’s turn this time. These signs of disagreements may not necessarily affect a movie trailer in an extended capacity, but the potential to impact political waves in current India is immense. Is this the renaissance of India protests after the anti-CAA NRC protests across the country?

In the latest Mann ki Baat video, PM Narendra Modi talks about things ranging from digital celebrations of Ganesh Chaturthi to recent agricultural outputs and the coronavirus crisis. Right after the video went viral, dislikes kept increasing every hour and the comment section was bombarded with lines bashing the government’s failure in the ever-rising COVID-19 cases and the recent decision to conduct the JEE and NEET examinations for admission to engineering and medical colleges in the country. The disliked and comments are indicative of people’s disappointment at PM’s approach to multiple recent problems in the country.

Earlier, the propaganda was run by the IT Cell on twitter that meant to show digital political opposition to different communities/groups. The hashtags never went against the BJP because the IT Cell could efficiently manipulate what to trend and what not to trend on twitter. It’s different on YouTube and because the like/dislike option is done by individual accounts, it is solely reflective of what the people want to convey rather than that of online propaganda by the IT Cell.

The inability of the IT Cell to control the content and conveyance, unlike twitter, seems to show the real disappointments of new and young India. The dislikes keep on increasing and is currently at 1.7 lakhs.

Imran Pratapgarhi tweeted, “On little anger of the students, the work of the BJP IT Cell is failing. The channels conducting surveys on #NEET_JEE, they must see the dislikes on the Mann ki Baat video. This is country’s Mann ki Baat.”

Things seem to take a twist in India’s consciousness, particularly students, regarding the ruling power and the ways of organizing dissent in the new normal of life due to this ongoing global crisis.

 

Aamir Khan

Aamir Khan is a student at the Centre for Chinese and South-east Asian Studies, JNU, New Delhi. He also works with Hasratein- a Delhi based queer collective. The current area of his academic interest lies in the study of the Chinese language and society.