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PM Narendra Modi a Much Mellowed Man on Twitter This Election Season

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

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Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi.(Wikimedia Commons)

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.”

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FILE – A man reads tweets on his phone in front of a displayed Twitter logo. VOA

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.

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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)

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Micro-blogging Site Twitter Aims to Restrict Users, Not World Leaders Like Trump

"These are constantly evolving challenges and we'll keep our policies and approach under advisement, particularly as we learn more about the relationship between Tweets from world leaders and the potential for offline harm," it added

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Twitter is a social media app that encourages short tweets and brief conversations. Pixabay

Stating that world leaders are not above its policies “entirely,” Twitter has decided to restrict how users can interact with harmful tweets from world leaders who break its rules, but did not clarify whether it will remove or block the world leader like US President Donald Trump from doing so.

The micro-blogging platform said it will not allow users to like, reply, share or retweet offending posts from world leaders.

“You will not be able to like, reply, share, or Retweet the Tweet in question. You will still be able to express your opinion with Retweet with Comment,” the company said on Tuesday.

“Our goal is to enforce our rules judiciously and impartially. In doing so, we aim to provide direct insight into our enforcement decision-making, to serve public conversation, and protect the public’s right to hear from their leaders and to hold them to account,” it added.

Twitter has been facing pressure to take action against US President Donald Trump for posting controversial tweets, but the micro-blogging platform has been evading action.

Earlier this month, California Senator Kamala Harris, who is a 2020 Democrat presidential candidate, asked Twitter to suspend Trump’s account for attacking lawmakers and the whistleblower behind a complaint on his shady dealings with Ukraine.

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A man reads tweets on his phone in front of a displayed Twitter logo. VOA

“Trump’s Twitter account should be suspended. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that he is irresponsible with his words in a way that could result in harm as the privilege of using those words in that way should probably be taken from him,” Harris told CNN.

Trump has repeatedly used Twitter to attack his political opponents.

In a series of tweets, he said that House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff should be arrested for treason for exaggerating parts of phone call Trump had with Zelensky.

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If a tweet from a world leader does violate its rules, but there is a clear public interest value to keeping the Tweet on the service, the company said on Tuesday that it “may place it behind a notice that provides context about the violation and allows people to click through should they wish to see the content”.

“With critical elections and shifting political dynamics around the world, we recognise that we’re operating in an increasingly complex and polarised political culture,” said Twitter.

“These are constantly evolving challenges and we’ll keep our policies and approach under advisement, particularly as we learn more about the relationship between Tweets from world leaders and the potential for offline harm,” it added. (IANS)