By Gokul Bhagabati
With about10-15 posts a day in April, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is definitely one of the most prolific Twitter users in the country, but his attack on the Opposition on the platform, especially on the Congress, appears to have blunted a bit compared to the tweets five years ago.
Modi, who is hoping for a second term as the Prime Minister after results of the general election are declared on May 23, continued to urge people never to vote for the Congress through his tweets in April, but the sharp sarcasm-filled messages that were the hallmark of his campaign during the same month in 2014, were somehow missing.
A lot of Modi’s tweets in April 2019 appeared to be routine and compulsive updates rather than an attempt to engage his followers, the number of which has swelled to 47.1 million.
This does not mean his tweets are now less liked or retweeted than five years ago when the number of his followers was much smaller. In fact, if the ‘likes’ and retweets were in hundreds in April 2014, they were in thousands in April 2019.
But the sentiments that the tweets evoked changed considerably. Consider the following tweets from April 27, 2014:
“The way Rahul Baba is making statements with a dash of comedy in them, I think the TV show of Kapil Sharma may soon have to shut shop.”
This tweet garnered 10,890 retweets and 7,682 likes – when the number of his retweets were generally in hundreds.
Similarly, the tweet “Rahul Baba says ‘27,000 crore posts are vacant’ & ‘2 out of 1’ children are malnourished in Guj. Only he can explain how this can happen.” also garnered thousands of retweets.
But the Prime Minister is now not mocking Rahul Gandhi, who joined Twitter only in April 2015, the way Modi did five years ago. It is certain that one of the two leaders must have become what is conventionally called “mature”, but it is difficult to guess who.
In 2014, Modi called the Congress “betrayers in a democracy” and sinners and called for comprehensive “uprooting” of the party. In 2019, the Prime Minister accused the Congress of being “anti-development” and of repeatedly insulting the country’s armed forces.
The harshest of the words from the @narendramodi Twitter handle appear to have so far been reserved (in April 2019) for the Trinamool Congress and the Samajwadi Party. The words “goons” have often been associated with workers of these two parties.
By April, four phases of the election that covered about 70 per cent of the 543 parliament seats were already over. But the next three phases are very crucial for the BJP. And a cursory reading of his tweets in May suggests that the attack on Congress may now get severe. (IANS)