Mumbai : Says an ex-volunteer of BJP to Swati Chaturvedi in upcoming book ‘I’m Troll’ , claims was told to target Govt critics.
The BJP social media cell was instructed and strictly told its social media volunteers by the party’s IT cell head, to build pressure via social media on e-commerce platform Snapdeal to drop actor Aamir Khan as its brand ambassador. This was all raised after Aamir made a comment on growing intolerance in November 2015 that were perceived to be critical of the government, a former BJP volunteer of this social media team has claimed in an upcoming book of Swati Chaturvedi .
At the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards ceremony hosted by Indian Express on November 23, 2015, Aamir Khan, speaking on the debate over growing intolerance in India, Aamir said: “Kiran (his wife Kiran Rao) and I have lived all our lives in India. For the first time, in a Night if i remember she said, should we move out of India? That’s a disastrous and big statement for Kiran to make to me and i was just socked after this question by Kiran. She fears for her child. She fears about what the atmosphere around us will be. She feels scared to open the newspapers everyday. That does indicate that there is a sense of growing disquiet and intolerance in the country.”
Watch Aamri Khan’s comment on Intolerance in November 2015.
Sadhavi Khosla a former volunteer , who quit the BJP social media cell as a volunteer at the end of 2015, has shared purported WhatsApp messages sent to her with journalist Swati Chaturvedi whose book I am a Troll is being published by Juggernaut.
Following these remarks, Khosla said the BJP social media cell organised a campaign to get Khan removed as the brand ambassador of Snapdeal. She shared messages she claimed were sent to her from Arvind Gupta, head of the BJP IT cell, and other WhatsApp groups associated with the team.
Following these remarks by Aamri khan on intolerance, Khosla said the BJP social media cell organised an online campaign on social media and caouses.org to get Khan removed as the brand ambassador of Snapdeal. She shared messages she claimed were sent to her from Arvind Gupta, head of the BJP IT cell, and other WhatsApp groups associated with the team.
One message from Arvind Gupta(Head of IT cell), purportedly sent to Khosla two days after Khan’s comments, stated: “Sign the Petition to Snapdeal India. Appeal Snapdeal to drop Aamir Khan from their ads.” It provided the link to sign an online petition started by BJP IT cell at caouses.org. At the end of January 2016, Snapdeal did not renew Khan’s contract.This might be due to pressure on leading e-commerce snapdeal.
When Gupta’s comments were asked on his WhatsApp message spread, he sent an email response acknowledging that he heads the party’s IT department. But rejecting Khosla’s claims, he said she “supports the Congress” and “has all reasons to publish unsubstantiated claims”, and that Chaturvedi is basing her “fictitious stories on the same due to vested interests”.
Gupta said we at BJP never “encouraged trolling anyone” and had published social media guidelines on its website. He said he “does not directly supervise social media activities since 2015 when the party structure was reorganised”. He said the social media cell of the BJP is being headed by another person since July 2015.
Another WhatsApp message of November 24, 2015 — a day after Khan’s statement — from HDL which is in short ‘Hindu Defense League’ very active on twitter have thousand of follower started spreading WhatsApp message wrote by Swati in her book, that Khosla shared, stated: “Time to attack Snapdeal like…(we) did with greenply plywood and forced them to withdraw the defamatory ad!! Snapdeal customer care number…& threaten of negative publicity & ruining business if amir khan is not kicked out from brand ambassadorship!! Let’s show Hindu unity.” Message like this was being spread by HDL.
There was an online campaign started on social media and trolls sent millions of tweet to Snapdeal for remocing Aarmir Khan as ambassador.
HDL also shared with Khosla a magazine cover from 2005 on Aamir Khan with a story headlined, “2 Year Old Jaan! The child Aamir Khan abandoned” as material to be used on social media against the actor. According to Chaturvedi, HDL’s Twitter handle was @HDLindiaOrg and it had Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a follower — the account now stands suspended.
Here is few tweets which was sent to Snapdeal for dropping Aamir Khan from Brand ambassador
— Abhishek Mishra (@Abhishek_Mshra) November 27, 2015
— PRAVEEN DESHMUKH (@PRAVEEN877) November 29, 2015
— abhinav sharma (@abhinav1927) November 30, 2015
— Suresh Nakhua (@sureshnakhua) November 27, 2015
When The Indian Express sought her comments, Khosla said issues like lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq over suspicion of possessing beef, and “growing hatred in the country” disappointed me. She also said “We didn’t vote BJP for all this, I voted Modi for development,” she said.
On the attacks on Aamir Khan, on intolerance comment Khosla said: “For 25 years, they were our superstars. Now for the past two years since new government has came in power, they have become terrorists?” Members of the social media cell, Khosla said, were told what to tweet, what hashtags to use, and were also given a “hit list” of journalists including Barkha Dutt and Rajdeep Sardesai to be “constantly attacked”.
Source : Indian Express