This can be witnessed with the jittery behaviour of many senior ministers of the Modi government who seems to be on an overtly defensive mode. Sample this. For every tweet done from Rahul Gandhi’s handle that is critical of the Modi government, Smriti Irani would instantly counter it with another tweet as if on cue. Whether it warrants the stature of a cabinet minister to come down to trolling on social media is a different debate altogether. Question is, if Gandhi and his social media rise is so insignificant, why does the Modi government feel the need to field senior ministers to counter him? Irani who had once called Rahul Gandhi a ‘failed politician’ incidentally lost the Amethi Lok Sabha elections in 2014 to the Congress scion. Quite an irony I must say.
Not only on Twitter, senior ministers like Smriti Irani, Piyush Goel and Nirmala Sitharaman have come out to attack Gandhi by holding regular press conferences. If anything, they’ve been ceding more ground and attention by doing so. Even in the absence of a fight, their behaviour is giving the electorate a sense that the ruling party is getting jittery and defensive. Interestingly, a recent story done by ANI claimed that Gandhi’s rise on his Twitter following, which jumped from 20 lakhs in May to nearly 37 lakhs, within the next two months can be attributed to bots. Same was claimed for the high volume of RTs that Gandhi had attracted, even crossing popular leaders like Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal who are the most and second most followed Indian politicians on Twitter respectively.