Interestingly, the one word that notches up the most search hits in election season is something that may be jarring to BJP’s ears. It is ‘Vyapam’.
There are between 10 lakh and 1 crore hits for Vyapam a month, indicating that the massive recruitment scam, which broke just months before the 2013 assembly election is a burning issue ahead of the 2018 polls as well. BJP weathered the headwinds five years ago and registered a massive win but Vyapam scam continues to haunt the government with opposition Congress levelling allegations almost daily.
Also, while chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s appeal with the masses is very strong, there are as many hits for Chouhan as for former CM Uma Bharati — 10,000 to 1 lakh a month. Interestingly enough, it’s the same for Congress biggies Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia.
Surprisingly, the popularity graph of Digvijaya Singh has not taken a hit on internet. He too gets searched 10,000 to 1lakh times every month, with many of them keen to look for pictures of his second marriage. Controversies associated with former CM Babulal Gaur are among the top searches too.
Finding out the caste of big leaders of both BJP and Congress also seems to be the favourite past time for netizens. Caste hits are in the thousands for Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Uma Bharati, Kamal Nath, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Babulal Gaur and Kailash Vijayawargiya.
The leaders’ children are no less popular. Among them, Mahanaryaman Scindia, the son of Jyotiraditya Scindia, is attracting maximum hits —1,000 to 10,000 in a month.
But what is shocking is that hardly anyone is searching for major issues affecting the state. No one on net is searching for farmers’ suicide, unemployment in MP and other issues. Similarly, people are also not much interested much in government schemes like Ladli Laxmi and Mukhyamantri Teerth Darshan Yojana. The hits for these schemes are just between 100 and 1000 every month, the same as for happiness department and Narmada Seva Yatra.
IT professional Akshay Hunka said it is surprising to find that people are more interested in Vyapam, caste of leaders and their family members, instead of bigger issues like unemployment and farmers’ suicide.
State BJP spokesman Rajneesh Agrawal said that Congress always tries to mislead public on Vyapam issue. “But people do not trust Congress and want to check for themselves about Vyapam on news agencies and portals through net due to which there are more hits for it”, he said.
Congress state media committee vice-president Bhupendra Gupta said that lakhs of students have been cheated and jailed in Vyapam case, while the accused are seen with CM. “Around 50 suspicious deaths have taken place due to Vyapam. The government has changed the name of Vyapam to an English one. The people, particularly youths still search for Vyapam on internet so that they could find something new regarding the scam. Those who gave their hard earned money are in jail, while the ones who took money are happy”, he said.