External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday continued her fight against the Sangh Parivar’s troll army and finally got some ammo after her ministerial colleague Nitin Gadkari and BJP Rajya Sabha member Subramanian Swamy came out in her support. On Monday, Union home minister Rajnath Singh had disapproved of the social media attack on Swaraj.
On Tuesday, the Union home ministry asked Mumbai Police to register a case, identify the person and take legal action against the owner of the social media account who had threatened Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi.
On her part, Swaraj blocked a popular right wing troll. Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan condemned the “shameful trolling campaign” against Swaraj. Swamy said none should cross ‘maryada’, or decorum, in their criticism.
Swaraj has been targeted by right wing trolls following the transfer of Passport Seva Kendra official in Lucknow Vikas Mishra, for allegedly humiliating an inter-faith couple.
“It is very unfortunate the way Sushma Swaraj ji was trolled and the kind of propaganda being spread against her. I had a discussion with her but when the decision (to issue the passports) was taken, she was not in the country,” Gadkari said.
When the controversy had broken, Swaraj was on an an official visit to France, Belgium and Luxembourg. “She had no connection with it. She was not there at that time. People did not like the words used against her. I think everyone should act more responsibly on the social media. It is very unfortunate,” Gadkari said.
The attack on Swaraj from right wing trolls and support to her from Singh and Gadkari has led to much speculation within the BJP. The vicious attack has indicated that at least the core Hindutva support base of the BJP has turned against her.
Along with Arun Jaitley, Gadkari and Singh, Swaraj is considered a consensus prime ministerial candidate if the BJP falls significantly short of the majority mark in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and regional parties promise support but to a moderate face rather than the polarising figure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Neither Modi nor BJP chief Amit Shah have said a word yet to support Swaraj. The issue of trolling is likely to be raised in the forthcoming monsoon session of Parliament with the opposition all set to come out in her support. Swaraj, it would seem at the current juncture, has overplayed her hand within the Sangh Parivar. But the last act in this engrossing battle is yet to be played out.