India PM Modi overtakes White House on Twitter

Narendra Modi Image copyright AP
Image caption Narendra Modi is seen as a social media friendly leader

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has narrowly overtaken the White House on Twitter, a study of political use of the social network has found.

His account @NarendraModi has 4.99m followers, ahead of the @WhiteHouse account which has 4.98m followers.

Mr Modi's huge victory in the recent general election was partly credited to a well-organised social media campaign.

The leader of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is also the most followed Indian leader on Twitter.

"Mr Modi's seen a stratospheric rise," said Matthias Luefkens, who heads the annual Twiplomacy, a study conducted by global public relations and communications firm Burson-Marsteller.

Although Mr Modi speaks mostly in Hindi, his tweets are always in English, preferred for business in a nation with 22 official languages.

Mr Modi, who was elected in May, scored 24,000 retweets for his own "India has won!" victory message.

"I am a firm believer in the power of technology and social media to communicate with people across the world", Mr Modi has said in a message on his new website.

The five most followed world leaders were US President Barack Obama (@BarackObama) with 43m followers of his campaign account, Pope Francis (@Pontifex) with 14m followers on his nine different language accounts, Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (@SBYudhoyono) with 5m followers, with @WhiteHouse and @NarendraModi in fourth and fifth places.