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Congress downplays row over PMO twitter

May 21 2014, 18:20 IST
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SummaryCongress today sought to downplay the controversy over the Prime Minister's Office decision to close down its official twitter account ahead of Narendra Modi taking over and expressed confidence that the new PMO will get the original handle.

Congress today sought to downplay the controversy over the Prime Minister's Office decision to close down its official twitter account ahead of Narendra Modi taking over and expressed confidence that the new PMO will get the original handle.

Twitter India declined to react on the issue. "We don't comment on individual accounts," its spokesperson said.

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who is himself an ardent user of the microblogging website, dismissed as a "storm in a twitter tea cup" the BJP's criticism over the PMO's step.

"PMOIndia handle will remain for the new PMO. Twitter authorities will give it to them. It is only the earlier tweets of the previous PM and the PMO that have been archived. So I think the whole controversy is a storm in a twitter tea cup," he said.

The PMO Twitter handle was changed yesterday from @PMOIndia to @PMOIndiaArchive, automatically transferring its content and 1.24 million followers to the new account.

Angry BJP, whose government is set to assume office from next week, had termed it as "illegal and disgraceful". It said the original Twitter handle was a "national digital asset" and did not belong to Manmohan Singh. It should have been handed over to the new dispensation as it was, the party said.

At present, the handle @PMOIndia does exist but it makes no mention of its provenance, making it almost impossible to make out if it is owned by Twitter or a squatter.

BJP sources said even if the new PMO under Modi gets possession of the original handle, @PMOIndia, it will have to go through the process of verifying it as it has lost its "verified" status after the PMO relinquished it.

The new PMO will also lose the 1.24 followers of the original handle as they will have to follow it all over again.

"What they (PMO) have done is completely unwarranted. They should have simply handed the handle to us like you pass on files and other official material to a new government," a BJP's IT Cell official said.

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