Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Friday retweeted a derogatory remark on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but later insisted that the words are not his after controversy erupted.
“Retweets are never endorsements. This is the basic principle of Twitter,” Singh told reporters here.
Earlier in the day, Singh had retweeted a meme of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that said: “My two achievements – Made fools of bhakts, made bhakts out of fools” in Hindi.
The meme used an uncivilised word for “fool” in Hindi.
Digvijaya Singh shared the tweet with a disclaimer: “Not mine but couldn’t help posting it. My apologies to the person concerned. He is the best in the ‘Art of Fooling!'”
After it triggered a controversy, the Congress leader said that the words used by him – “He is the best in the ‘Art of Fooling'” — are “not derogatory”.
He asked mediapersons as to why they were not questioning the Prime Minister who “did not tweet a word of condemnation on journalist Gauri Lankesh’s murder”.
“Does Modiji, who tweets on even very trivial things, not have time to write a word in condemnation of that lady’s murder who, much like her illustrious father, fought all her life against the people who are spreading poison of communalism in our society?” Singh said.
He also demanded to know why Modi had not “unfollowed” four people who used abusive language against Lankesh after her murder.
He tweeted: “I am being unnecessarily blamed for my tweet where I have supposed to have used abusive language against the PM.”
But in later tweets, he became belligerent and less defensive.
“I have and shall continue to speak against those who are taking the whole Country for a ride by fooling the People with wrong facts,” he posted on Twitter.
Singh also questioned the media as to why they did not take note when some people abused Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and other Congress leaders.
“I have a question for the Media When Modi ji & those he follows have used abusive language against Soniaji Rajivji Indiraji Nehruji Gandhiji why they remained quiet?” he wrote.
“What abusive language and fake stories they have posted against them? Does Media not Notice them?… And don’t those who find my tweet offensive have the courage to speak up against them?” the Rajya Sabha MP said.
“And believe me there is no match for Modiji in the ‘Art of Fooling’. Any objections Modiji?” he wrote.
“A woman journalist is shot dead. Is calling her a b***h honour for India? BJP people should not teach me manners/values,” he said.
Singh was trolled for his tweet on social media.
However, the Congress distanced itself from Singh’s tweet with party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala saying Digvijaya Singh had already explained his tweet and “we have nothing more to say on this subject”.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said the controversy over Modi following people on Twitter was “mischievous and contorted”.
“Prime Minister Modi freely engages with people on social media. PM following someone is not a character certificate of a person and in no way a guarantee how that person would conduct himself,” BJP’s IT head Amit Malviya said on Twitter.