‘Kingmaker’ Nitish Kumar, ‘Hot’ Rahul Gandhi: Memes cast a vote for polls


Saumya Sahni’s knowledge of the Lok Sabha election results comes entirely from memes. “For people in my generation, it’s hard to digest any information unless you mix humour with it,” the 27-year-old content creator and comic said.“Meme pages help package information in this manner…I even know 14-year-olds who are aware of the margin by which the BJP fell short of making the majority seat count of 272 because they saw it on memes.” Netizens — especially digital natives — have fervently expressed their sentiments about the election results through memes on Instagram and other social media platforms.

A meme can be defined as an image, video or piece of text that is repurposed to deliver a social, political or cultural expression, often through humour or sarcasm, and shared on any digital platforms.

Over the past two days, social media feeds of Sahni, who goes by @mrsholmes221b to her 95,000- plus followers on Instagram, have been dominated by memes on various themes, including BJP’s loss in Ayodhya’s Faizabad constituency and Uttar Pradesh overall, and the role of Nitish Kumar of JD(U) as a kingmaker.

  • All
  • Uttar Pradesh
  • Maharashtra
  • Tamil Nadu
  • West Bengal
  • Bihar
  • Karnataka
  • Andhra Pradesh
  • Telangana
  • Kerala
  • Madhya Pradesh
  • Rajasthan
  • Delhi
  • Other States

“I also noticed that a popular account on X, @ArchiveDILFS, which typically features attractive middle-aged men, posted a video montage of Rahul Gandhi. This is likely the first time the page has featured an Indian politician,” she said. “Calling a politician ‘hot’ is more amusing and less harmful than labelling god-like attributes to them,” she added. A major theme largely missing from the meme fest is the $400-billion stock market setback on Tuesday following the unexpected election results. “Stock market memes usually pop up when an individual stock tumbles, often made by someone not directly affected,” explained Azhar Jafri, a 33-year-old stock trader and a popular finance meme maker. “This time, it affected almost everyone dealing in stocks or mutual funds, which might explain the lack of memes,” he said. Aside from a few memes telling investors to differentiate between political leaders and Sebi-approved financial advisors, the commentary on the topic had a more serious tone, calling for accountability from exit polls and those who had promised massive gains for investors on counting day.From a content IP standpoint, it is hard to overlook how the flood of election memes on Instagram
curation pages lacked adequate attribution to the original creator of each meme post.

Recently, the Meta-owned app announced plans to address this by prioritising original content over aggregator accounts. “The- se updates are rolling out over the coming months,” a Meta spokesperson told ET via email.

“Admins of meme pages often take quick screenshots and share them, so many meme creators now add watermarks that can’t be cropped out,” said Melvin Sadankar, co-admin of popular meme page AndheriWestSh*tposting, which has over 136,000 followers on Instagram. He emphasised that their page follows proper attribution ethics and has been focusing on posting original content of late, created by the three admins of the page.

“Memes play a crucial role in creating subtle awareness, particularly for those in isolated communities,” Sadankar said.

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