Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi “following someone is not a character certificate of a person and is not in anyway a guarantee of how a person would conduct himself”, said a statement released by BJP’s national head of information technology Amit Malviya. This statement follows stringent criticism by Twitteratis after several handles followed by the PM posted abusive tweets celebrating the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh earlier this week.
— BJP (@BJP4India) September 7, 2017
This statement is in stark contrast to the condemnation tweeted by Union cabinet minister Ravi Shankar Prasad who faced a lot of flak from party supporters for his tweet.
Bowed down to media, secular and liberal bullies? We work for you tirelessly, selflessly. This is the reward? https://t.co/tlc03FBM5j
— Rita (@RitaG74) September 6, 2017
Ravi Shankar Prasad had more to say about how to conduct oneself on social media
Expressing happiness on the killing of anyone is shameful, regrettable and totally against Indian traditions. Social media is not for that.
— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) September 6, 2017
It is not without reason Prime Minister Narendra Modi faced severe criticism as some handles followed by him expressed happiness at Lankesh’s death.
Jaisi karni vaisi bharni https://t.co/SXNewq0Tz1
— Ashish Mishra pune (@aashish81us) September 5, 2017
.#GauriLankesh was ONLY secular PIMP murdered & given state honour rest were Communal
This chat explain BAZARU Media
— #GauravPradhan 🇮🇳 (@DrGPradhan) September 6, 2017
While the statement tried to put a distance between the PM and those whom he follows, it firmly steered away from condemning abusive tweets. Rather the BJP indulged in whataboutery, justifying the PM’s list by drawing attention to those followed by Arvind Kejriwal and Rahul Gandhi.
The BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a perfect opportunity to play the role of a statesman and take high moral ground by unfollowing those tweeting abuses and set the tone for political discourse on social media. But instead, the party has sent out a clear message to its supporters that their abusive online behaviour is justified as all is fair when it comes to social media wars.