Image Credit: Twitter

Dubai: The women of the political party Indian National Congress (INC) had a message for the country’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi on World Social Media Day — stop following trolls on Twitter.

On June 30, in a Twitter video, they sang a song to Modi.

Choosing the popular tune of the 1970 Beatles single, Let It Be, they called out Modi for following trolls who use abusive language and hateful speech for political motive.

@INCIndia tweeted: “Tired of online trolls, the women (and a few men) of the Congress social media team have put together a video making a collective plea to the Prime Minister @narendramodi this Social Media Day. #PrimeMinisterUnfollowTrolls”

Modi is one of the most followed Prime Ministers on Twitter. He has 43.2 million followers and follows 1,942 tweeps, many of these are heads of states. However, many followed by Modi are known to be social media trolls.

But in the last few years many critics have wondered why Modi follows such fanatics.

In a 2017 article, BBC quoted Pratik Sinha of Alt News, a website set up to fight fake news in India, as saying: “A huge majority of... people that Mr Modi follows are politicians, bureaucrats and journalists, but a significant number of them are people who denigrate critics and political opponents in most horrendous language.”

Tweep @SwatiRajak3 wrote: “Today on the occasion of #WorldSocialMediaDay we would like to request #PrimeMinisterUnfollowTrolls.” She added: “...interestingly, many of these trolls in India are ‘BLESSED to be followed’ by the Prime Minister.”

And, @lakshmiaakula tweeted: “Some of the online handles Modi follows send out rape threats,death threats and indulge in communal incitement. Modi is the only leader in the world to follow such handles.”

Twitter user @msgpahujaa added: “It is indeed baffling why the PM Modi follows abusive trolls, who spew venom against women and others on Twitter. The video put up by @INCIndia women is a manifestation of the anger people and women in particular feel about PM following such people #PrimeMinisterUnfollowTrolls”

Recently, India’s External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, was the latest high-profile person to become the dart board of the country’s social media trolls. Ironically, she is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by Modi.

Many questioned why Modi was silent about the troll attack on Swaraj.

Tweep @VinayDokania wrote: “The PM didn’t stand up when his own female minster @SushmaSwaraj was trolled. And some people expect that Modi will unfollow trolls by seeing a twitter trend.

Clearly Trolls are the ventilators that keep Modi alive, without trolls Modi is nothing.”

Tweep @inclusivemind also asked: “ If #PrimeMinisterUnfollowTrolls who will make him win 2019?”

Tweep @simpleriyaz highlighted how Modi was encouraging right-wing ideologists who used social media to harass people. He wrote: :When your trolls start to troll you, it is high time you unfollow them. Following trolls may not mean you encourage their tweets. But a PM following trolls gives them indirect right to harass innocent people. #PrimeMinisterUnfollowTrolls”

@PrabhatTewari07 agreed: “I request Modi ji to understand that promoting abusive trolls on SM(social media) is the worst thing a PM can do #PrimeMinisterUnfollowTrolls.”