NEW DELHI, Dec 26: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s YouTube channel hit two crore subscribers on Tuesday, according to a real-time tracker from the social media analytics platform Socialblade. Mr Modi’s account began picking up dramatically more followers in the last two years — in 2021, the Narendra Modi channel gained fewer than two lakh new subscribers each month.
In August this year, however, the channel achieved five times that many subscribers. The following month, Mr Modi made a virtual appearance at the streaming site’s YouTube Fanfest India event. “Please subscribe to my channel, and to receive updates, do press the bell icon,” he said towards the end of his message.
Mr Modi now has more subscribers than any world leader. That statistic likely derives from the unique circumstances of the country’s polity: India has rapidly digitised in the last few years, and it is estimated to be the largest country in the world by population (pending the next census); the second country, China, does not have YouTube access; and in the two-party dominated United States, most presidents have rarely enjoyed approval ratings comparable to Mr Modi’s during peacetime.
Rahul Gandhi, the Congress MP from Wayanad and the party’s former president, has seen a similar spurt in YouTube statistics in 2023. In March, Mr Gandhi complained to Google that his channel had seen a “suppression” in engagement that he suspected was artificial. By August, the number of subscribers he was adding each month almost tripled from 1,20,000 to 3,40,000. By November, though, fresh subscriber additions declined back to the levels they were at when Mr Gandhi had complained to YouTube. He currently has 35.1 lakh subscribers.