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Most party leaders ‘were with me’, says BJP leader Shanta Kumar

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Shanta Kumar has said that most of the party leaders “were with me” on the issue of Vyapam and Sushma Swaraj-Vasundhara Raje episodes.

In an interview to India Today television channel, the former Himachal Pradesh chief minister said three of the BJP ministers actually congratulated him for taking up the issue with BJP party chief Amit Shah, and appreciated that he took up something which they also wanted to speak on but felt scared to.

“Three of the ministers said that you did good work,” he said while terming as “false” the media reports suggesting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to him.

Kumar, who denied reports that Modi had ticked him off for his July 10 letter to the party president, said he has not spoken to the prime minister since writing that letter.

The BJP leader also said the Vyapam scam and allegations against Raje needed to be thoroughly investigated. “I did not ask for resignation (of Raje), it needs to be probed,” he said.

On the BJP, Kumar said, it used to be a party with a difference but now the difference has diminished and eroded.

“When I wrote that letter, and even now, I believe that these incidents (controversies involving Swaraj, Raje and Chouhan) have damaged the image of the BJP,” he said, and added that something should be done to arrest any further damage.

He also emphasised that the BJP “must introspect” on the issue.

On Swaraj, Kumar said if what she told to the BJP parliamentary committee was correct, there was no need for her to resign.

Asked if she should resign, he said he did not know the facts and hence could not comment on the issue.

On his interview to a website in April 2002, in which he had said that if he were Narendra Modi he would have quit after the Gujarat killings, Kumar said he still maintains that view.

“It was an assessment based on my conscious. But in 2014 before the general elections it was I who said that Narendra Modi should lead the party in elections and be made candidate for prime ministership,” he said.

Asked if he felt disappointed at the current state of affairs in the BJP, Kumar said he is a “well-wisher” and wants it to remain “the party with difference”.

(With inputs from IANS)

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PM Narendra Modi Engages with Celebrities to Boost Visibility

Ahead of the 2019 elections, Modi has been increasingly reaching out to Bollywood celebrities to urge citizens to cast their vote

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India, elections, vietnam, BJP
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses a gathering in New Delhi, India. VOA

Prime Minister Narendra Modi engaged with celebrities across different fields effectively on social media in the run-up to the 2014 general elections to raise his visibility and further his electoral ambitions, as per a US study.

Joyojeet Pal, an associate professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Information, examined more than 9,000 tweets from @narendramodi between February 2009 and October 2015 to research Modi’s engagement with Indian public figures before and after elections.

As per the study, ‘Brand Modi: Decoding social media engagement with celebrities’, there were three distinct phases of engagement that happened in the six years for which he studied Modi’s tweets.

It was noticed in the first phase, Modi reached out to Amitabh Bachchan, businessman Narayana Murthy, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. “By engaging with them, he presented the idea that people outside his core support group and with broad followings were willing to engage with him,” Pal said.

Around 2013, his approach moved to getting support for his campaign by referring to various celebrities in his tweets, posing with them, and in some cases, getting their outright endorsement for the campaign. During this phase, celebrity engagement was mainly through pictures showing affiliation.

Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi.(Wikimedia Commons)

The efforts rounded off post-election when Modi called on celebrities primarily as champions for his initiatives.

According to Pal, this was the phase when Modi presented his initiatives as campaigns with national appeal rather than something imposed on the country.

This, Pal said, was particularly seen with Swachh Bharat, a national movement to clean up India’s roads and infrastructure, and, subsequently, with demonetisation. Celebrity engagement at these points presents the views of a collaborative, thoughtful leader.

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Number of Modi’s Twitter followers stands at 46.6 million, and he continues to engage with celebrities.

Ahead of the 2019 elections, Modi has been increasingly reaching out to Bollywood celebrities to urge citizens to cast their vote. (IANS)