Home minister said he expressed his sympathy, adding that he was too inactive a social media user to have issued a statement online.
New Delhi: Union home minister Rajnath Singh reached out to his cabinet colleague Sushma Swaraj, the external affairs minister, last week to express sympathy on the vicious abuse she has been facing from online trolls.
“I called her soon after she first tweeted last week about the abuse she was facing,” Singh told ThePrint, adding, “When we met, I also asked her what this was all about. I expressed my sympathy.”
However, Singh refused to say why he did not express support online or comment on the mounting abuse on Twitter.
Singh’s admission makes him the first person in the Narendra Modi government to reach out to Swaraj on the trolling she received for pulling up a passport officer accused of harassing an inter-faith couple during the application process.
Not even the women leaders of her party have spoken up, even as former Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, who heads former BJP ally PDP, and other opposition leaders offered support. President Ram Nath Kovind, bound by protocol, expressed indirect support a day ago. “I compliment SushmaSwaraj for her exemplary leadership,” he said, addressing heads of missions at the Rashtrapati Bhavan this weekend.
While @SushmaSwaraj has 11.7 million followers, @narendramodi’s following of 43.2 million puts the Prime Minister among the top threeTwitter handles in the world.
Swaraj, a recent victim of the worst name-calling on social media, conducted a simple online poll a day ago on whether Twitter users “approved” of abusive tweets.
Shockingly, as many as 43 per cent of those who responded said “yes”, while 57 per cent said “no”.
She then tweeted in her own defence, but it already seemed like a too-little-too-late statement in which old-time parliamentary behaviour had lost out to the aggressive nature of political expression.
“In a democracy difference of opinion is but natural. Pls do criticise but not in foul language. Criticism in decent language is always more effective,” Swaraj said.