AP's Politicos Troll One Another as Rain Keeps Leaders Off Streets
DECCAN CHRONICLE | AVINASH P SUBRAMANYAM
TIRUPATI: Twitter may have gotten a new logo over the weekend, but not much changed for Andhra Pradesh’s political parties, who seem to have taken to the platform like a duck to water for political bashing, using their creativity and wit to come up with quips about opposing political parties, quickly retorting to counters and allegations.
Washing the dirty laundry in the open were the YSRC in the blue corner and the Telugu Desam, backed up by Jana Sena, in the red corner.
With Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy setting the foundation stone for the construction of 50,793 houses for the poor in Amaravati at Krishnayapalem village on Monday, the YSRC's official Twitter handle sarcastically invited TD national president and former chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu to attend.
"Instead of sitting on the bund and watching the program, you can come here, see the good things happening to the poor in our Amaravati, bless them, and have a meal," the YSRC tweeted on Monday, tagging the TD chief’s Twitter account.
In a second tweet, the ruling party accused the TD chief and JS chief Pawan Kalyan of jointly going to court to stop the poor from getting houses in Amaravati. "We are at war with such anti-poor rulers and such a system," the YSRC tweeted, tagging Naidu and Pawan Kalyan.
Not one to be left behind, the TD chief responded in kind through his official social media account to criticise the YSRC’s policies.
Openly mocking the Chief Minister and his Cabinet, the TD tweeted: "Pettandaru went in a helicopter to give houses to the poor. Whose money do you think it is? It’s the hard-earned money of those poor people! Jagan's total tour today is 24 km. Apart from Jagan, no other chief minister has the record of using a helicopter for the shortest distance."
The Jana Sena was also quick to join the fray. Although lacking the same level of resources as the other major parties, it made its presence felt on social media by actively engaging with its followers and participating in the online discourse.
The Jana Sena had already engaged in an online war with YSRC when the latter started affixing ‘Jagananne Ma Nammakam’ stickers to houses of welfare scheme beneficiaries. This led to altercations and counter-strikes among workers from both parties.
More recently, the Jana Sena took on the YSRC over the issue of government-appointed volunteers, posing questions about data privacy concerns. "(1) Who’s the Boss of Volunteers? (2) Where are you storing the personal data of People of AP? (3) Who has authorised volunteers to collect people’s personal data, when they are not government employees?" the Jana Sena posted.
The Jana Sena also lamented, through another tweet, that the YSRC chief resorts to personal insults when questioned about issues.
Political experts, meanwhile, said that the parties’ use of their official social media handles to attack each other is contributing to a volatile online political discourse. Many argue that such behaviour not only undermines the spirit of healthy political debate, but also polarises the electorate and hinders constructive dialogue on critical issues.