Kerala Kaumudi Online
Sunday, 19 May 2024 2.07 AM IST

Influence of social media on Kerala voters surpasses America


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It has been found that the influence of social media on Malayali voters during elections is significant. Kerala is ahead of America in this regard. In 2021, the Principal Secretary of the Agriculture Department and the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Agriculture, Dr. B. Ashok, made this discovery in a study conducted by Ashok. Dr. Ashok also received his doctorate from Amrita University.

All 280 candidates who secured first and second positions in the 2021 assembly elections had a significant presence on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Women were more affected by this influence. Social media campaigning proved to be more effective than direct engagement by politicians, thereby promoting greater independence in voter decision-making.

In 2019, while he was a professor at a private university in Kochi, Dr. Ashok initiated his research, later continuing it part-time. The research was also guided by Prof. U. Krishnakumar and Prof. N.V. Sreedharan from Amrita University. Two state-level surveys and discussions with Kudumbashree groups and students were conducted for the thesis. The 324-page thesis was completed last December and will be published in book form. Dr. Ashok's inspiration for research and study is Ramamani, who retired as a professor of zoology at S. N. College, Kollam.

Dr. Ashok's academic journey includes receiving the Canadian Award for his dissertation on Social Exclusion in Local Government Institutions while serving as the Deputy Director of the Mussoorie IAS Academy. At the age of 37, as the Vice-Chancellor of the Veterinary University, he published a history of veterinary science titled 'Salihotreyam'.

He also holds master's degrees in Water Resources Science and Political Science from England and Italy, respectively, with international fellowships, in addition to his degree in Veterinary Science. He has published works such as 'Empirical Studies in Public Management'.

Dr. Ashok's next academic goals include obtaining a doctorate in Malayalam on the topic of 'Officer Characters in Malayalam Novels' and completing his legal studies, which have been delayed.

Even after retirement, Dr. Ashok plans to continue his studies and research. He acknowledges the support of his colleagues but emphasizes that none of them contributed to his thesis.

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