【New Delhi】The BJP has been consistent in its vehement protests against the “glorification” of Tipu Sultan by the Congress. It was therefore mortified when President Ram Nath Kovind praised the 18th-century Mysore ruler in the Karnataka Assembly.
A red-faced Karnataka BJP, which believes that Tipu was anti-Hindu, tried to cover up by claiming that it was chief minister Siddaramiah’s office which wrote the speech for the President. But to the BJP’s discomfiture, it turns out that the speech was in fact written at Rashtrapati Bhavan, with inputs from the office of the Karnataka Assembly. The President personally cleared the speech before it was finalised.
So either someone from the Rashtrapati Bhavan media department who wrote the speech’s first draft was ignorant of the confrontation between the BJP and Congress over Tipu’s legacy, or else, as seems rather unlikely, President Kovind is genuinely appreciative of Tipu’s role in Indian history, despite his former party’s position.
○Specs for facelift
With the Gujarat Assembly elections due in December, the BJP leadership is scratching its head over how to give chief minister Vijay Rupani a facelift. Rupani is so soft-spoken and low-profile that outside his native Rajkot, few recognise him.
Rupani’s spin doctors wanted to project the CM as a great administrator who is weeding out corruption. But they were stopped by former chief minister Anandiben Patel. Any attempt to promote Rupani as a ‘performing CM’ would reflect poorly on Patel’s own record in the chair. Finally, the only makeover approved for Rupani was to wear spectacles so that he looks more distinguished.
○The tide on social media turns against the BJP
The tide appears to have turned against the BJP on social media. The anti-BJP responses in Gujarati to the slogan ‘Vikas gando thayo che (Development has gone crazy)’, have gone viral.
Another plus is that Rahul Gandhi’s Twitter followers have jumped by a million in a week. Credit for the Congress’s new high-profile presence on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and YouTube goes to Divya Spandana aka Ramya, the head of the Congress’s social media cell. Ramya, an actress and a former Karnataka MP, replaced Deepender Hooda in May as the party’s social media head and has direct access to Rahul.
However, Congress old-timers, who feel sidelined, refer to Ramya resentfully that she will eventually fall flat on her face. They are even willing to cite BJP sources that the phenomenal spike in Rahul’s Twitter followers is primarily because of bots, an inanimate software-driven effort.
Inside Track: From major goof-up to Make in India
Celebrate Tipu to celeberate anti-colonial struggle: Irfan Habib
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