BJP, Congress in war of words over Rahul's Twitter popularity

Illustration by Siddhant Jumde

She attached a report by the news agency ANI that said: "Bots behind the rise in Rahul Gandhi's Twitter popularity". However, this would not be the first time that a mass leader's followers were behind suspect activity on Twitter.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi has been making news recently for his renewed Twitter strategy.

On October 15th, "OfficeofRG" retweeted US President Donald Trump's post praising American-Pakistani relations with a caption "Modi ji quick, looks like President Trump needs another hug".

The report points out that a tweet made from @OfficeofRG, Rahul's official Twitter account, retweeted Donald Trump.

A close analysis of this tweet showed that these alleged "bots" with a Russian, Kazakh or Indonesian characteristic were routinely RT-ing the Congress VP's tweets.

The hashtag #RahulWaveInKazakh was trending on Twitter, where various people took potshots at Rahul.

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The Wire had earlier this month published an article which showed how Jay Shah's company saw its wealth and annual turnover swell by a staggering 16000 times - from a meager Rs 50000 to over Rs 80 crore - ever since Narendra Modi drove the BJP to power at the Centre in May 2014.

BJP ministers scrambled on Saturday to link Rahul Gandhi's increased popularity on social media to fake Twitter accounts in Russia, Kazakhstan and Indonesia. Singh said these issues were raised by Rahul on Twitter, and "who is tweeting it and retweeting it... those are side issues".

And presenting the queen of fake followers having 60% (2.8 million) fake followers.

Smriti Irani shared a report which raised questions on Congress vice-president's Twitter followers.

Cambridge Analytica was in the news during the US Presidential election cycle previous year for advising Donald Trump in precision voter targeting based on online habits of voters in different states. "You will have to speak to Twitter to get clarity". She added that the story was "factually wrong" and that it was an attempt to "please the I&B ministry and the Bots Janata Party".

Meanwhile, Amit Malviya, the head of BJP's IT cell, said that the Congress was "buy [ing]" support for Rahul Gandhi.

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