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BJP sees NaMo app ruckus as a ‘boon’ as it distracted opposition, got record downloads

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Thanks to the controversy over data sharing, the opposition seems to have forgotten all about issues such as Mosul and Andhra, bringing some relief to the ruling party.

New Delhi: The data sharing controversy related to the Narendra Modi app seems to have come as a blessing in disguise for the BJP. Not only has it diverted attention from key issues such as the killing of 39 Indians in Mosul and the TDP pulling out of the NDA, it has also led to a sharp spike in the app’s downloads.

BJP sources said that on Sunday, two days after the controversy erupted, the app registered its highest number of installations on a single day in the last six months.

“Based on our analytics, there have been close to 1 lakh downloads after #DeleteNamoApp erupted. Yesterday, the app received the single highest downloads per day in the last six months. Even those who were earlier not too keen on following our app now clearly want to do so,” a highly-placed source in the party said.

Controversy welcome

Security researchers had alleged that PM Modi’s official app was sharing user data without consent, sending it to servers run by a US firm. This led to an outcry on social media and also invited scathing criticism from Congress president Rahul Gandhi, following which the privacy policy of the app was updated.

Striking back, BJP’s IT cell chief Amit Malviya made similar allegations against the Congress, alleging the data from its official app was being given to “friends in Singapore”, following which the Congress deleted its mobile app.

Until last week, the BJP was under widespread attack for declaring only now that 39 Indians kidnapped in 2014 in Mosul were dead, and for announcing in Parliament first before informing the affected families. Despite its efforts to emphasise that it needed concrete proof before declaring those abducted as dead, the BJP was at pains to explain why it had consistently maintained that the 39 were in fact, alive.

The party also had a barely convincing argument for what the opposition alleged as “insensitivity” for not informing the families of the victims first.

Besides, the BJP was also pushed to the wall over the Telugu Desam Party’s decision to pull out of the NDA over not granting special status to Andhra Pradesh, and pressing a no-confidence motion against the government along with the YSR Congress.

BJP sources say the party will take up “an aggressive stand against the Congress” if it pushes the app issue since it helps it divert attention from the other matters for which the BJP had no real counter.

“With the app controversy, both the Mosul and Andhra Pradesh issues are not being talked about anymore, so that is a relief. Attention has been completely diverted from those issues and even the Congress seems to have forgotten about them,” another BJP source said.

“On the app issue, we will counter-attack the Congress aggressively. Their strategy to attack us on this evidently backfired on them.”

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