In a late-evening tweet on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was thinking of giving up his social media accounts on Sunday. Though nothing has been confirmed so far, the Prime Minister’s tweet has led to many speculations and conjectures on social media.
Here's a look at Mr Modi’s huge social media presence and people’s reaction to his cryptic tweet suggesting he might quit social media.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a huge following on social media. Currently, he has 53.5 million followers on twitter, 35.2 million on Instagram, 44.72 million on Facebook, and 4.51 million on YouTube. That makes him one of the most popular and active global leaders on these platforms.
Minutes after this tweet, scores of netizens urged him not to quit and used several hashtags, including #NoSir, which became the number 1 trending hashtag on Twitter.
Some netizens even offered explanations for why the prime minister might have been contemplating giving up his accounts.
Some speculated the PM might be planning to switch to an Indian platform, much like China’s Weibo, on which Modi made his debut on May 4, 2015. Some said he might shift all his communications on to the NaMo app. Some also said that the PM could have been hurt by the role played by social media in the Delhi riots, in which 48 people have died so far.
However, a source close to the PM’s office suggested Mr Modi might just be planning to take a day off from social media, in the meantime allowing women to post on his behalf. Sunday, March 8, is international women’s day.
Some, like Congress leader Shashi Tharoor and BJP’s Sudheendra Kulkarni went so far as to suggest that the PM's abrupt announcement might have led many to worry whether it was a prelude to banning social media services in the country.
Kulkarni said a big assault on Indian people’s freedom of expression and communication could be coming.
Different people, different reactions. Here are some political reactions to the PM’s tweet.
In his reply to Mr Modi’s post, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi asked him to “Give up hatred, not social media accounts.” To this, Tripura chief minister Biplab Deb retorted: “So that's the reason (Congress president) Sonia Gandhi doesn't have any social media account?”
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted: “Earnestly wish you would give this advice to the concerted army of trolls, who abuse-intimidate-badger-threaten others every second in your name!”
Amruta Fadnavis, spouse of former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, tweeted: “Sometimes it’s the smallest decision that can change our life forever! I will follow the path of my leader.”
Fadnavis was not alone. The list of people pledging to follow the prime minister and leave social media grew gradually and hashtags like #iwillalsoleavetwitter and #NoModiNoTwitter also trended highly on Twitter in India.
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