Indian politicians have had a busy 2017. But this isn’t surprising considering that seven states went to polls this year – Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Punjab, Goa, Gujarat, and Himachal Pradesh.
This year, India’s political rhetoric and media coverage was drenched in the Congress vs BJP topic, and that is but normal.
What is not, however, is that Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections and – wait for it – Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls made it to the list of top 10 elections searched worldwide on Google in 2017.
The elections which trended on Google globally in 2017 are:
- French election
- German federal election
- UK election
- Uttar Pradesh election
- Georgia special election
- Montana special election
- British Columbia election
- BMC election
- Sicilian regional election
- Dutch election
Topping the list is the French presidential election, which were held from April to May this year.
The world’s interest in the French polls was only natural, as after Donald Trump's victory in the US in 2016, another far right leader – Marine Le Pen – seemed likely to rule France. However, after neither Le Pen nor Emmanuel Macron won a majority in the first round, a run-off was held in which Le Pen lost the race.
Elections held in the United Kingdom, after Britain confirmed the Brexit in March, also featured in the Google trends list.
The Interest in Uttar Pradesh Polls
It is understandable that Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh – India’s most populous state – were the fourth most searched elections globally.
After winning the general elections in 2014, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) was riding confidently on the Modi wave. However, the pattern was broken when the party lost the Bihar Assembly elections in 2015.
After that, most political pundits had not imagined that the BJP would win a clear majority in UP, but it did. In the run-up to the elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi campaigned extensively in the state.
Later, the party made a somewhat ‘radical’ choice and chose Yogi Adityanath as the Chief Minister of the state. All these might have been important factors in increasing the elections’ popularity worldwide.
BMC Polls Ranked at Number 8
What’s more strange, however, is the worldwide popularity of the BMC polls. Elections to Mumbai’s municipal body were held in February this year.
No party gained a clear majority, with the Shiv Sena winning 84 seats and the BJP winning 82 seats. Finally, Shiv Sena’s Vishwanath Mahadeshwar became the Mayor with the BJP’s support.
Notably, a few days before the elections, comedy group All India Bakchod made a video urging people of the city to go out and vote.
Interestingly, hotels, pubs and bars in the city had also taken it upon themselves to encourage voters. As many as 7,000 hotels under the Indian Hotel And Restaurant Association (AHAR), in association with the Election Commission of India, offered discounts to people who voted in the polls.
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