Why is Congress president Rahul Gandhi insulting Prime Minister Narendra Modi on social media? This was one of the questions posed by students to BJP and Congress spokespersons during a discussion on “Digital Intolerance” at the Youth Parliament event at Karnavati University on Saturday.
After Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi spoke on how former PMs like Jawaharlal Nehru and Manmohan Singh were being insulted on social media, a student asked her, “Madam, you spoke of how we should not insult former Prime Ministers. Then why did the Congress president insult the current PM Narendra Modi when he posted a beautiful video on Yoga Day? On June 26, Rahulji quoted a report on rape and violence against women and said it is a matter of shame for our country. Will any countryman say so for one’s own country?” asked Harsha Thawani as the audience cheered.
Chaturvedi replied, “When you talk about your PM on issues he is failing, it is not an insult. It is not personally directed at the PM, but at the post of the PM. There is a huge difference between the two…” She also pointed out that photoshopping pictures of former PMs and abusing them on social media amounted to “insult”.
At the event, BJP and Congress leaders fielded questions on triple talaq, uniform civil code and lynching. When another student asked why nothing was being done about lynchings related to gau raksha, BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi said it was the media that was spreading intolerance by contriving facts.
While the Congress spokesperson suggested that all political parties come together and discuss ways to tackle misinformation campaigns on social media, Amit Malviya, BJP IT cell head, felt that any move to bring a law to control social media would curtail people’s freedom of speech. “To suggest that we need any more laws to govern our interactions on social media is something we all should resist or it will be a further assault on our freedom of expression which we cannot afford,” Malviya said in his speech on the subject of Digital Intolerance. “I and my party believe that our behaviour on social media should be like the way we behave in our personal lives. Even disagreements should be with grace and self-control.”