Two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise announcement about “giving up” his social media accounts, the Shiv Sena on Wednesday mocked him, saying it was impossible that he would “cut this lifeline”, the Hindustan Times reported.
“Many Modi-bhakts were worried for a few hours but after all, social media platforms are BJP’s [Bharatiya Janata Party’s] oxygen and it is impossible that Prime Minister Modi would cut this lifeline,” the Shiv Sena said in its editorial mouthpiece Saamana.
Modi is one of the most followed world leaders on social media, with 53.3 million followers on Twitter, 44 million on Facebook and 35.2 million on Instagram. Among politicians on Twitter, Modi’s following is exceeded only by former United States President Barack Obama and current President Donald Trump.
The editorial advised Modi to emulate people like industrialist Ratan Tata and use social media to spread positive messages. “Ratan Tata recently showed the ordeal of a sanitation worker’s daughter on social media,” the editorial said. “Instead of rumours about quitting social media, Modi should walk on Tata’s path.”
Shiv Sena said the Bharatiya Janata Party used social media to win the 2014 Lok Sabha elections using “Goebbels propaganda”, a reference to Nazi politician Paul Joseph Goebbels, one of Adolf Hitler’s closest aides and Nazi Germany’s minister for propaganda.
Referring to the BJP and Modi’s supporters as “cyber warriors”, the Shiv Sena said that social media was now turning against the ruling party. “They lost Jharkhand and Delhi,” Shiv Sena said. “The cyber weapon is turning against the BJP now, is that the reason why Mr Modi was looking at social media renunciation?”
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had also taken a swipe at Modi for his tweet on Monday. “Give up hatred, not social media accounts,” he had said. The party’s spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala urged Modi to ask online trolls to do the same.