New Delhi, Sept 7: Following the controversy which erupted over Prime Minister Narendra Modi following twitter handles which indulge in “uncivilised” political debates on Twitter, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s IT Cell issued a clarification, stating that the PM following a particular social media handle should not be considered the person’s “character certificate”.Also Read - Babul Supriyo Says Won't Join Any Party After Exit From BJP; Edits it Out Later

The press note was issued in the aftermath of opposition parties and civil rights’ activist found PM Modi to be a follower of one twitter user who celebrated the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru on Tuesday. Also Read - Babul Supriyo Quits Politics With 'Alvida' to Focus on Social Work

Congress, the prime opposition to the ruling BJP at Centre, said the Prime Minister should explain why such “hooligans” are among those whom he follows on the social media. Also Read - Kejriwal Govt Urges Centre to Confer Bharat Ratna on Environmentalist Sunderlal Bahuguna

Below is the note of clarification issued by Amit Malviya, head of BJP IT Cell:

The controversy over Prime Minister (PM) following people on Twitter is mischievous and contorted. PM Modi is the only leader who freely engages with people on social media platforms. He follows normal people and frequently interacts with them on various issues. He is a rare leader who truly believes in freedom of speech and has never blocked or unfollowed anyone on Twitter. We have multiple examples of leaders curbing free speech on social media, including the previous PMO handle.

PM following someone is not a character certificate of a person and is not in anyway a guarantee of how a person would conduct himself. However, PM also follows Rahul Gandhi, who is an accused in loot and fraud. PM also follows Arvind Kejriwal, who abused him on Twitter and told a woman ‘Settle Kar Lo’ when she complained of a party member molesting her. PM still follows Parthesh Patel, a former BJP volunteer who joined Congress & abused PM in the worst possible language.

This debate is also a one-way street. Rahul is never questioned for the abuse by Tehseen Poonawalla, who also happens to be his relative. Kejriwal is never questioned for the abuse and rape threats his supporters shower on others. Thus, this debate is not only farcical and fake, but also an exhibit of selective right to freedom of expression.