Smriti smells Russia-Indonesia-Kazakhstan connection to Rahul's Twitter popularity
New Delhi: Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani on Saturday taunted Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi over the rise in the number of people retweeting his messages and sought to link this with twitter accounts in Russia, Indonesia and Kazakhstan. The Congress, however, immediately rejected the charge as "factually wrong".
The latest war of words between the BJP and the Congress over Rahul Gandhi's rising popularity on Twitter broke out after news agency ANI suggested that 'bots' or web robots, which can produce automated mass retweets, were behind the increases in number of people retweeting Gandhi's messages. However, the veracity of report could not be independently ascertained.
Irani took to the microblogging website to suggest that the retweets were from fake accounts abroad. "Perhaps @OfficeOfRG planning to sweep polls in Russia, Indonesia & Kazakhstan ?? #RahulWaveInKazakh," she said in a tweet which tagged the media report. Questioning whether automated bots were mass retweeting Gandhi's tweets, the report said that on October 15, 'OfficeofRG' retweeted US President Donald Trump's tweet praising American-Pakistani relations with a caption 'Modi ji quick, looks like President Trump needs another hug'.
The tweet quickly reached 20,000 retweets and currently has touched 30,000, the report claimed, adding that a close analysis of this tweet showed that these alleged 'bots' with a Russian, Kazakh or Indonesian characteristic were routinely retweeting the Congress vice-president's tweets. An Internet bot is a software application that runs automated tasks (scripts) over the Internet.
Congress Rajya Sabha MP and Gandhi family loyalist Rajeev Shukla jumped to the party vice president's defence, saying that social media connects the whole world and retweets originating from Russia, Kazakhstan and Indonesia should not be considered out of place. "They (the BJP) are afraid of Rahul Gandhi and his popularity," he told TV channels.
Another Congress leader and former Union minister R P N Singh said, "BJP is not answering...Where is the chowkidar? Why is he not speaking about how the turnover of a company owned by Shahzada's son rose 16,000 times in a year. Why are they not answering...Why are they not answering questions raised by him (Gandhi) about farmers? Why?" Singh said.
He was referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "silence" on a web portal's report that the turnover of a company owned by Jay Shah, BJP chief Amit Shah's son rose exponentially after the party came to power at the Centre in 2014. Jay Shah has filed a criminal defamation case against the portal The Wire.