New Delhi: The Game of Votes: Visual Media Politics and Elections in the Digital Era is a new book that traces the evolution of election campaigns in India by focusing on key players, rise and fall of political parties, role of digital and technology platforms, and emergence of fake news impacting poll outcome in the country and across the world.

The author Farhat Basir Khan, in the book, argues that traditional methods to garner the attention of voters are no longer enough in poll campaigns and states that political branding, image management, crisis communication, data analytics, microblogging, and most importantly, short crisp videos is what counts.

The book throws light on campaigns in the early general elections, where political parties would use newspapers, public meetings and door-to-door canvassing to convey their messages, policies, manifesto and information about the party.

It also takes the reader through the rapid advancement and industrialisation, the dramatic change in traditional methodologies of electoral campaigning that gave rise to an even higher proliferation of modern media technologies, he stated.

The book traces the changing political and media landscape beginning with the tepid elections of the 1950s to the feverish social media-driven elections of the 21st century, from the heady post-Independence Nehruvian era to the frenzied victory of Narendra Modi in 2019.

Former President Pranab Mukherjee has written the foreword to the book, published by SAGE, terms it as a reflection on the mood swings of the "unpredictable but very intelligent" Indian voter.

The book looks at the role of technology platforms, micro-profiling voters, clash of personalities and the rise of the national champion' - all of which have been dealt with in detail," he writes.

The book discusses the art of forging political alliances, the overwhelming influence of social media companies in global politics, the menace of fake news and the worldwide rise of right-wing politics.

The unpredictable rise of brand Modi, his inexplicable persona, style of politics and vote-conversion abilities are contrasted with the losing sheen of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, loss of confidence in the Congress and electoral reverses for the party, it states.

The book also looks back at former US president Barack Obama's and incumbent Donald Trump's elections where social media, particularly Facebook, played a major role in the campaigns.

What the pundits had not reckoned with was the impact the newer kid on the block - WhatsApp will have, considering its mega role in making viral news elements that are volatile, insidious and fake, Khan, faculty member at AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, said.

He critically looks at how new media companies and platforms have been used to the hilt by election campaign managers.

The book highlights the fact that the social media has not just become a daily battleground for fake news but has spread its tentacles around the core of Indian democracy - its free and fair elections.

According to Khan, social media helps to overcome the barrier of means in communication that in turn enables strengthened relationships between voters or advocates and politicians. And when it comes to election campaigns, social media becomes the digital version of the election rallies held on the ground.