Opposition leaders on Wednesday criticised a tweet posted on the official handle of the prime minister’s office. The leaders pointed out that the tweet was a political comment about the Samajwadi Party made by Narendra Modi.

At an event in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur district on Tuesday, Modi had made a comment about the “laal topis” or red caps typically worn by Samajwadi Party members and supporters. The prime minister was criticising the Samajwadi Party ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, scheduled to be held early next year.

“The entire Uttar Pradesh knows that ‘laal topi waale’ [those who wear red caps] have only been interested in red beacons [power] and not the problems of people,” the prime minister had claimed.
“They only need power for scams, to fill up their coffers, for illegal encroachment and to to give a free run to the mafias.”

Modi also claimed that the Samajwadi Party wanted to form a government in Uttar Pradesh to “get terrorists released from jail”. “The red caps are red alerts, a danger alarm for Uttar Pradesh,” he claimed.

Opposition leaders objected to the language of the tweets. “PM’s office [is] paid for by tax payer’s money and staffed by IAS [Indian Administrative Service] officers,” Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra said in a tweet on Wednesday. “How on earth can PMO India handle be used for political lal topi tweets?”

Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh told NDTV: “The use of this kind of language from the Prime Minister’s official handle is wrong. PM Modi himself wears a kaali topi [black cap, which is associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh] and so does his party and his cabinet.”

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is the ideological mentor of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

Singh remarked that those who wear black caps introduce “black laws in the country”.

“I will not be surprised if they renamed Lal Qila [Red Fort] as Kaala Qila [black fort],” he said. “Will they go the black fort on Independence Day to deliver speeches?”

Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav asserted that red was the colour of change, ANI reported.

“Uttar Pradesh wants to see change,” he said, according to ANI. “Promises made by [the] BJP are mere ‘jumla’ [or false]. They have misled people. Did they fulfill their promises? Did the farmers’ income double? Did the youth get jobs?”

In a tweet on Tuesday, Yadav had said the “red caps” will oust the BJP from power this time.

“Red alert for the for BJP is of inflation, unemployment, the plight of the farmer and labourers, Hathras, Lakhimpur, the oppression of women and youth oppression,” he added.

Yadav was referring to the rape of a Dalit woman by four upper-caste men in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district in 2020 and the death of four farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri in October this year. Farmer bodies have alleged that a vehicle belonging to Ashish Mishra, the son of Union minister Ajay Mishra, had run over protestors.