Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has pulled out his crusader cape and gathered his anti-graft ammo once again. But this time he is firing his salvos not from the heart of Delhi, but from Twitter.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader, who came into politics riding a popular anti-corruption wave that first gathered momentum at India Gate, has been particularly vocal about the recent mega-crore-rupee scam involving businessman Nirav Modi and the Punjab National Bank on the micro-blogging site.
In tweet after tweet in the last few days, he has taken on the ruling BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue.
Of the nearly 35 tweets by the tax officer-turned-politician over three days last week, 24 posts were on the scam. Most of them castigated the government for the fraud and the jewellerâ€™s flight from India, while some referred to liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who has also fled the country.
BJP govt shud give specific timelines by when will they bring Vijay Mallya and Neerav Modi back to India (sic). By when will the money be recovered from them,â€ he tweeted on February 16. â€œIs it possible to believe that he or vijay mallya left the country without active connivance of BJP govt (sic), he said in another tweet.
Most of his tweets and re-tweets — from February 15-17 — targeted the Central government but some directly referred to the prime minister, something Kejriwal has avoided doing since AAP’s poor electoral performances last year.
On February 15, when reports alleging that Nirav Modi and his uncle had committed a bank fraud of almost Rs 11,400 crore with the connivance of some PNB officials hogged the headlines, Kejriwal posted 18 tweets. Of these, 11 related to the scam and hit out at the government and the prime minister.
A day later, he posted 11 tweets. Of these 7 pertained to the scam and again took pot-shots at the BJP. His other tweets were mostly on the achievements of the Delhi government. But for a politician whose main plank has been his anti-graft battle, Kejriwal” tweets do not surprise his colleagues.
“Our party originated from an andolan which was based on an anti-corruption movement”, said Saurabh Bharadwaj, AAP chief spokesperson, Delhi unit.He, however, disagreed with the view that Kejriwal had been subdued in his attacks in recent times. Some political observers believe that after a series of electoral reversals, the chief minister had been unusually quiet.
When the Karni Sena was running amok protesting against ‘Padmaavat’, Arvind was very vocal about it. He took an aggressive stand during the MCD sealing issue. And when a multi-crore-rupee scam takes place, then a chief minister is bound to speak up, Bharadwaj said.
Kejriwal has lashed out at the government away from the cyber world, too. At a public function yesterday, he attacked the Centre over the scam and how Nirav Modi had left India. He also questioned the prime minister’s silence on the issue.
The chief minister also took to Twitter when Karni Sena supporters protesting against Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film attacked a school bus in Gurgaon and was vocal during the sealing drive by the MCDs.
But the bank fraud has evoked many more tweets from him than the other issues.
Besides Kejriwal, who has over 13 million followers on Twitter, the prime minister uses this social media platform for sending message to the people. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also uses Twitter to address people’s concerns that come under the purview of her ministry, while Congress president Rahul Gandhi mostly uses it for messages targeting the ruling party.