New Delhi: A day after Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan appointed Tushar Panchal as his Officer on Special Duty (OSD), the latter has said he will not accept the responsibility. His decision came after a number of BJP, RSS leaders and supporters started a campaign on Twitter asking Chouhan to remove Panchal as his OSD, citing his old tweets that were allegedly “anti-Hindu” and critical of the Narendra Modi government.
They questioned if Chauhan needed “people like” Panchal, who they also called a “Modi hater”.
“I have decided to not accept the responsibility offered to me by @chouhanshivraj ji and have communicated my inability to the CM,” he tweeted.
I have decided to not accept the responsibility offered to me by @chouhanshivraj ji and have communicated my inability to the CM.
— Tushar (@tushar) June 8, 2021
On Monday, Panchal had announced on Twitter that he was set to take up his role “inside the office of” CM Shivraj Chouhan.
“Friends: Many of you have known me as a man behind the curtains. I have been working closely with many CMs and political leaders across the country since 2001,” he tweeted, adding: “Today, my destiny has placed me inside the office of MP Chief Minister @ChouhanShivraj as his communication advisor. Please wish me luck. More details later.”
Today, my destiny has placed me inside the office of MP Chief Minister @ChouhanShivraj as his communication advisor.
Please wish me luck. More details later.
— Tushar (@tushar) June 7, 2021
Soon after, Delhi BJP spokesperson Tajinder Bagga posted the screenshot of an old tweet by Panchal and asked CM Chouhan if he needed “people like” Panchal.
“@ChouhanShivraj ji do you need people Like this? (sic)”
. @ChouhanShivraj जी pic.twitter.com/HP8Gn4zsBQ
— Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga (@TajinderBagga) June 8, 2021
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s Delhi state executive member Rajiv Tuli also hit out at Panchal and posted an old tweet of his. “Does @ChouhanShivraj ji really need him? Madhya pradesh have given rich culture of eminent journalists of our ideology. Why not one from them. गज़ब (sic).”
Does @ChouhanShivraj ji really need him? Madhya pradesh have given rich culture of eminent journalists of our ideology. Why not one from them. गज़ब https://t.co/HpQHiKzVl8
— rajiv tuli (@rajivtuli69) June 8, 2021
Others also posted about Panchal’s tweets, questioning his appointment, though some spoke in support of him too.
How can anyone who uses the ‘cow urine’ jibe NOT be a Hindu hater? @nisheethsharan ji, this is a question for you. Don’t know who this @tushar person is, but if these tweets are any indication, he is no different from a Modi hating woke libtard. Baki @ChouhanShivraj समझदार हैं! https://t.co/bryKZ700VE
— Shefali Vaidya. 🇮🇳 (@ShefVaidya) June 8, 2021
Everybody has opinion and right to have it.
Have known Tusharbhai for years and wont judge him for and by his tweets.
My limited point and opinion.
— Suresh Nakhua ( सुरेश नाखुआ )🇮🇳 (@SureshNakhua) June 8, 2021
This Modi hater @tushar is made Communication Advisor to MP CM @ChouhanShivraj Ji.@narendramodi @PMOIndia pic.twitter.com/7sak9VhPUm
— Prashant Umrao (@ippatel) June 7, 2021
.. @tushar is made Communication Advisor to MP CM .@ChouhanShivraj Ji kindly sack the person who is responsible for this appointment because he is surely working for #Kamalnath . pic.twitter.com/MEDtGI5Zwt
— Ashoke Pandit (@ashokepandit) June 8, 2021
ThePrint reached Panchal through a phone call but he refused to comment. Sources close to him, however, said Panchal has been working with Shivraj Singh Chouhan for quite some time and even managed his social media.
“This is nothing but a politically motivated campaign. His tweets have been posted without context. He has been working behind the scenes and has always put the party first,” said a source.
Also read: 7 leaders dead: Angry MP political families ask if postponing polls would’ve ‘shaken democracy’
Panchal appointed to ‘improve govt image’ amid Covid mess
According to a senior BJP leader from Madhya Pradesh, Panchal’s company oversaw the social media work of Chouhan and his government during the 2018 elections.
“The second wave of coronavirus wreaked havoc in the state that directly affected the image of the state government. The chief minister then decided to make Tushar Panchal, the head of a communication consultancy, as his OSD to improve his image. But his official appointment itself has become a matter of bad press. Though he had been working on the social media of the CM, his official appointment has become the talk of the town,” added the leader.
The Madhya Pradesh Congress also raised the issue on social media. “Shivraj waged war against Modi, made a staunch opponent of Modi his OSD,” the party’s official handle posted. Someone who ridiculed Modi on social media, indulged in belittling his stature and made unrestrained remarks on BJP’s principles has been made OSD by Shivraj Singh Chouhan. After Yogi, now Shivraj, Will weaken Modi’s rule”.
शिवराज ने छेड़ी मोदी के ख़िलाफ़ जंग,
—मोदी के घोर विरोधी को बनाया ओएसडी;
सोशल मीडिया पर मोदी की खिल्ली उड़ाने, उनके क़द को छोटा करने और बीजेपी के सिद्धांतों पर अनर्गल टिप्पणी करने वाले को शिवराज ने अपना ओएसडी बनाया है।
योगी के बाद अब शिवराज,
कमजोर करेंगे मोदी का राज। pic.twitter.com/In7UiCURYK
— MP Congress (@INCMP) June 8, 2021
This is not the first time that such appointments have been criticised. Last month, barely two days after the Uttarakhand government had appointed senior journalist Dinesh Mansera for the post of media advisor to the chief minister, it withdrew the order.
Mansera’s appointment had not gone down well with a number of BJP leaders and the Hindu-right as he had been critical of the BJP government at the Centre during his stint with a television news channel.
This report has been updated to reflect that Tushar Panchal has now decided to not accept his new role as CM Chouhan’s OSD.
Also read: New mandate, new Shivraj Chouhan — what’s behind soft-spoken MP CM’s aggressive turn