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Reuters/Danish Siddiqui
Shah Rukh Khan is everywhere.
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India’s Twitter is all about Bollywood—and Narendra Modi

By Shelly Walia

Last year, Narendra Modi laid claim to the most popular tweet by an Indian. The Indian prime minister’s triumphant message after the general elections was retweeted by more than 75,000 people.

In 2015, the honour belongs to Shah Rukh Khan. On April 17, the Bollywood superstar tweeted a selfie with British band One Direction’s former member Zayn Malik in London. With over 141,000 retweets—and nearly 18.3 million views— it was the most popular tweet by an Indian this year.

Khan is also the second most followed Indian on Twitter—trailing another Bollywood superstar, Amitabh Bachchan, according to a year-end round-up by Twitter.

Modi placed third on the list, having quadrupled his number of followers from four million in May 2014 (when he took office) to more than 16 million (and counting) currently. He is the biggest gainer on the top 10 list in 2015, according to data provided by Twitter.

Top hashtags

“Popular Twitter hashtag trends in India saw a mixture of sports, entertainment, political and social activism movements,” Twitter said in a note.

The Indian Premier League—with #IPL—was the most popular. The other four were Modi-led campaign #SelfieWithDaughter to promote the rights of the girl child; #BiharResults during the October-November period; Modi’s #SaalEkShuruaatAnek on his first anniversary as India’s prime minister; and #DDLJ20Years on popular Bollywood film Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge‘s 20-year anniversary.  

Most influential moments

There were five moments on Twitter, from news and politics to sports, political and cultural, that emerged as the most influential.

“Most influential are the topics that were the most conversed on Twitter. These moments had multiple hashtags, and they received the most number of tweets,” a Twitter spokesperson told Quartz. “Emojis, too, were part of the calculation for the most influential moments on Twitter.”

Here are the top five:

  1. #INDvsPAK, or the first match of the cricket world cup between India and Pakistan on Feb. 15
  2. #DelhiElections and #DelhiVotes in February when the Aam Aadmi Party formed the Delhi government with a majority
  3. #HappyDiwali between Nov. 8 and Nov. 13 during the Hindu festival when the first-ever Diwali emoji was launched by Twitter
  4. #ChennaiRains, #ChennaiFloods and #ChennaiRainsHelp during major flooding in the southern Indian city in November-December
  5. #India, another emoji launched by Twitter, and #SaluteSelfie to honour the Indian armed forces on India’s 69th Independence Day on Aug. 15. The Taj Mahal, too, joined Twitter on this day, and became one of the first historic Indian monuments to join the social media platform