Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday praised Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s social media skills and said that latter is a ‘Khiladi’ (player) when it came to the game of Twitter. “Yogi Ji bhi kam khiladi nahin hain. Kayi rajyon mein bahut logon ke saath hamare Yogi Ji twitter-twitter ka khel khel rahe hain. Aur twitter ke khel mein bhi acche acche khiladiyon ko unhone parast karke rakh diya hai,” PM Narendra Modi was quoted as saying by ANI (Yogi Ji is no less than anyone. He is playing the game of “twitter” with many people in many states and has defeated many). The prime minister made his comments while addressing the students of the Gautam Buddha University in Greater Noida on the occasion of the inaugural programme of the 22nd National Youth Festival. Modi’s comment came in the backdrop of a bitter social media exchange between Adityanath and his Karnataka counterpart, K Siddaramaiah. The former in the BJP’s star campaigner in Karnataka.
‘Welcoming’ Adityanath to Bengaluru, Siddaramaiah had recently tweeted that there’s a lot he can learn from Karnataka to address the reported starvation deaths in his state. “I welcome UP CM Shri @myogiadityanath to our state. There is a lot you can learn from us Sir. When you are here please visit an Indira Canteen & a ration shop. It will help you address the starvation deaths sometimes reported from your state. #YogiInBengaluru, (sic)” Siddaramaiah had tweeted.
The Karnataka chief minister’s tweet drew a prompt reposte from Adityanath. Acknowledging the welcome Siddaramaiah accorded to him, Adityanath cited an increase in farmers’ suicides and alleged ill-treatment of honest government officials under the Congress rule in the state. Adityanath also pointed out that he was trying to “undo the misery” unleashed by Congress’ allies in Uttar Pradesh. “Thank you for the welcome @siddaramaiah ji. I heard number of farmers committing suicide in Karnataka was highest in your regime, not to mention the numerous deaths and transfer of honest officers. As UP CM I am working to undo the misery and lawlessness unleashed by your allies,” Adityanath tweeted.
The “welcome” barb between both the chief ministers soon went viral on Twitter, with supporters of political parties taking sides and trolling each other with hashtags “#YogiInBengaluru” and “#HogappaYogi” (go Yogi). Adityanath, in a rally in Bengaluru, also attacked Siddaramaiah personally for endorsing eating beef. In another tweet late in the evening, Siddaramaiah asked as to who the BJP was to question food habits but added that he doesn’t eat beef because he doesn’t like it.
Siddaramaiah said, “who are these people to question our food habits. Many among the Hindus consume beef. If I want to eat, I will eat. Who are these people to tell me not to eat. But I don’t like beef, so I don’t eat it.” He also said he had reared cows and asked whether Adityanath who lectures about cow protection had done the same. “What moral right does he have to speak about cow protection.
Karnataka is in the midst of fierce political campaigns in view of the upcoming polls scheduled for later this year. While the BJP is looking to return to power this time around, the upcoming elections will test Siddaramaiah’s nerve in the face of an aggressive BJP campaign.