Sanjukta Pandey quit her job as a hair and make-up stylist in March to devote herself to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s re-election campaign on social media. Pandey, a feisty 32-year-old wearing huge hoop earrings, neon pink lipstick and a tattoo of Modi’s name on her left forearm, now spends her waking hours spreading his election message on WhatsApp and other social media apps. “I’m online almost 24/7. I don’t go to sleep; we want Mr Modi to come back,” she says. “You won’t see anyone getting inked with Rahul Gandhi’s name.” India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata party is using WhatsApp to wage one of the world’s most sophisticated digital political campaigns, carried out by a vast army of volunteers like Pandey, who are devoted to Modi’s brand of Hindu nationalism. As internet access surges in India with the proliferation of smartphones and cheap data, more than 300-million Indians are now on WhatsApp, making the country by far its biggest market. While campaigns used to be co...

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