New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party has dismissed as ‘farcical and fake’ the row over Prime Minister Narendra Modi following some Twitter users accused of making objectionable comments over journalist Gauri Lankesh’s murder, and and said it shows selective approach to right to freedom of expression.
In a statement, BJP’s IT department head Amit Malviya termed the row a one-way street, saying opposition leaders like Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi or Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal are ‘never questioned’ for behaviour of their followers.
Modi following a person is not a ‘character certificate’ of a person and is not in anyway a guarantee of how a person would conduct himself.
‘He is a rare leader who truly believes in freedom of speech and has never blocked or un-followed anyone on Twitter. We have multiple examples of leaders curbing free speech on social media, including the previous PMO handle,’ he said.
The PM still follows Parthesh Patel, ‘a former BJP volunteer who joined the Congress and abused the PM in the worst possible language,’ he said.
The controversy is ‘mischievous and contorted’, he said, adding that Modi is the only leader who freely engages with people on social media platforms.
‘Rahul is never questioned for the abuse by Tehseen Poonawala, who also happens to be his relative.
‘Kejriwal is never questioned for the abuse and rape threats his supporters shower on others. Thus, this debate is not only farcical and fake, but also an exhibit of selective right to freedom of expression,’ he said in a statement.
Modi, Malviya said, also follows Rahul Gandhi, who is an ‘accused in loot and fraud’ and also follows Kejriwal, who ‘abused’ him on Twitter and ‘told a woman ‘settle kar lo’ when she complained of a party member molesting her’.
Malviya said Modi follows ‘normal people’ and frequently interacts with them on various issues.
Some twitter users had yesterday posted abusive comments targeting the slain journalist.
The prime minister was criticised for allegedly following some of them on Twitter from his personal handle.