BJP's head of Information and Technology Amit Malviya on Thursday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi following someone on Twitter is not a character certificate to that person and termed as "mischievous and contorted" the controversy over this.
"The controversy over Prime Minister following people on Twitter is mischievous and contorted. PM Modi is the only leader who freely engages with people on social media platforms," Malviya said in a statement.
"He follows normal people and frequently interacts with them on various issues. He is a rare leader who truly believes in freedom of speech and has never blocked or unfollowed anyone on Twitter," he added.
Replying to the statement, Congress party's Social and Digital Media head Divya Spandana said: "Malviya's rabid and sinister response justifying Narendra Modi following trolls celebrating the murder of Gauri Lankesh has exposed the fanatical and dangerous agenda of the BJP government and the party."
Malviya said: "We have multiple examples of leaders curbing free speech on social media including the previous PMO handle."
"PM following someone is not a character certificate of a person and is not in any way a gurantee of how a person would conduct himself. However, PM also follows Rahul Gandhi (Congress Vice President), who is an accused in loot and fraud. PM also follows Arvind Kejriwal (Delhi Chief Minister), who abused him on Twitter and told a woman 'settle kar lo' when she complained of a party member molesting her."
"PM still follows Parthesh Patel, a former BJP volunteer who joined Congress and abused PM in the worst possible language," Malviya added.
He also said: "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 added.
Divya Spandana furhter said: "May we remind PM Modi and BJP that it is this very thought that led to assassination of Mahatama Gandhi by Godse with RSS distributing sweets and celebrating the murder of 'father of the Nation'? "
"And don't forget that it is for this very reason that Sardar Patel, India's Home Minister, banned the RSS," she added.
She said: "Same culture of hate, abuse, division and murder is being propagated today. On behalf of all our countrymen, we assure the hate-mongers that they failed yesterday and they will fail today. We will determinedly continue this fight despite PM Modi's conspiratorial silence."
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