BHUBANESWAR: In the time of elections when battle-lines are drawn and social media foot-soldiers of political parties exchange swords, the murky world of politics can be a humourous space too, thanks to the memes that keep getting churned out day in, day out.
A day after the video showing Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik jogging, cycling and lifting weight went viral, the social media was abuzz with TikToks. Sample this: A one-minute TikTok video with a catchline ‘Mu ebe fit achhi, aapan mane khusi ta’? (I am fit now, are you happy?) has been rendered with ‘Bande Utkal Janani’ in the background and prepared by the BJD highlighting Naveen’s achievements.
The entertaining meme video has been liked and shared on various social media platforms more than the original two-minute video. It was an instant hit among the party supporters and Naveen fans across the globe.
With election fever gripping the State, social media is abuzz with memes, TikTok videos, one-liners, political jokes, short videos and GIFs mocking the ruling party and the Opposition in the State.
A meme featuring photos of two BJP leaders staging dharna in front of Naveen Nivas had gone viral recently. The meme was released with a caption - ‘I assume they sat with a hope to get nomination from BJD’. The Congress supporters are also not behind. They are leaving no stone unturned to mock and troll the BJP and BJD leaders.
These videos and memes are made in all formats for easy sharing in all available mediums including Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram and Twitter.
“It’s election time and social media platforms are flooded with satires and jokes on political parties. They are interesting and entertaining,” said Abhisek Mohapatra, a social media buff. Memes are considered the best possible form to send messages in compact form. They go viral within hours. Many of those who share memes would have otherwise ignored any news report on them. Earlier it used to be comics and cartoons, but now satire or humour and even serious allegations are being expressed in the forms of memes, GIFs and satire videos.
Social media expert Sudhir Mishra feels SM platforms are becoming important aspects of poll campaign as besides achievements of parties, the lion’s share is now defaming the Opposition through jokes, small videos and limericks.
“It will have an impact on common voters to some extent. Those who are serious voters may analyse properly but young voters are likely to get influenced. Such defaming sometimes boomerangs. Political parties should indulge in fact and reality based campaign rather than such comical way of representing others’ weakness,” he suggests.
Memes have the potential to be powerful in an era where likeability can be a deciding factor but judges are out if these can shape voters’ opinion in a State like Odisha despite the sarcastic ingredients.
Another expert Ansuman Rath says Odias generally appreciate satire since time immemorial and literature is a testimony to that. “With the advent of social media, subtle humour and sarcasm has found a niche among followers. Political jokes and satire on SM wasn’t so prevalent during the last few elections but 2019 has brought out really funny, hilarious jokes and humourous memes. In the charged atmosphere, it provides a great deal of comic relief. We shouldn’t assess its political impact and should let the fun continue,” he added.