The Congress today took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi – after he attended his first ever press conference in five years – by changing the profile photo on the party’s Twitter handle to that of Mahatma Gandhi.
The change could be seen as a reference to the controversial remark made by Pragya Singh Thakur, the BJP Lok Sabha candidate from Bhopal, about Nathuram Godse – the man who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi.
The saffron-wearing Pragya Thakur, whose alleged involvement in the 2008 Malegaon blast prompted the Congress to coin the phrase “Hindu terror,” had said: “Nathuram Godse was a deshbhakt (patriot), is a ‘deshbhakt‘ and will remain a ‘deshbhakt‘.”
Her controversial comment drew heated criticism from opposition leaders and forced the Prime Minister to publicly state he could “never forgive her for insulting Bapu“.
Earlier Mr Shah and PM Modi hosted what was billed as a press conference at the party headquarters in New Delhi. The hugely anticipated event was the first time the Prime Minister had attended one in the country, despite several calls from the opposition daring him to do so.
However, as it turned out the Prime Minister limited his time on the microphone to a short monologue thanking “countrymen for blessings through the ups and downs” of campaigning and praising his government for managing “to hold elections, observe Ramzan, Easter and more.”
He then refused to answer any questions, directing one that was asked to Mr Shah, prompting Congress president Rahul Gandhi to tweet: “Congratulations Modi Ji. Excellent Press Conference! Showing up is half the battle. Next time Mr Shah may even allow you to answer a couple of questions. Well done!”
Congratulations Modi Ji. Excellent Press Conference! Showing up is half the battle. Next time Mr Shah may even allow you to answer a couple of questions. Well done! ????
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) May 17, 2019
The Congress’ jab at the BJP mirrored the one by Trinamool Congress (TMC) and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee following the vandalism of a statue of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar during an Amit Shah road show in Kolkata on Tuesday.
The day after that Ms Banerjee and other TMC leaders changed the profile photos on their Twitter and Facebook accounts to a photo of the 18th century reformer. Ms Banerjee also hit out at Mr Shah, saying, “What does Amit Shah think of himself? Is he above everything? Is he God that no one can protest against him?”
The BJP is not unfamiliar with tweaking account handles on social media platforms.
Shortly before the start of the Lok Sabha polls, the Prime Minister added the word “chowkidar” to his twitter handle, prompting several party leaders and supporters to follow suit.
The change was in an effort to counter Mr Gandhi’s successful “chowkidar chor hai” claim with which the Prime Minister was attacked for alleged corruption in the Rafale fighter jet deal.
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