“Ek kutiya kutte ki maut kya mari saare pille ek sur mein bilbila rahe hain” (a bitch died a dog’s death and the litter began wailing in one voice).
Surat garments trader Nikhil Dadhich, followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Twitter, is at the centre of a storm over this tweet he put out shortly after the killing of Bengaluru journalist Gauri Lankesh on September 5. Ask him about it three days later and he says, “It was a normal tweet”.
The 38-year-old has since deleted the tweet and changed his Twitter profile which earlier mentioned, among other things, “Honored To Be Followed by PM Sh. @narendramodi Ji”. It now simply announces “Hindu Nationalist” with 31,000 followers as of tonight — up about 3,000 in three days.
“Many people posted positive and negative things on the death of Gauri Lankesh. I had never heard of or met Gauri Lankesh. I was a nobody until that tweet. Some people gave it a political angle and created a controversy. I now receive anonymous calls and have both good and bad experiences,” Dadhich told The Indian Express.
He says he does not know why the Prime Minister follows him on Twitter. “Ever since the last Parliamentary elections, I have been active on social media including Twitter. I am fond of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He is my ideal along with Swami Vivekananda.”
From Napasar in Bikaner district of Rajasthan, Dadhich was a regular at the RSS shakha in his village. He graduated from the Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati (MDS) University before moving to Surat fifteen years ago. He is still a regular at the shakha.
Dadhich, his wife, and two sons — 15 and 7 years old — live with the family of his elder brother. He has a shop in the Hari Om market in the Ring Road area which has been shut for a year now; he opened a women’s garment firm in Bhatena area in Salabatpura.
He said that after his tweet created a storm, his family was “under tension” and “my elder brother Jayant and relatives advised me to go to our native place and stay there for a few days, and keep my phone switched off”. “(But) I am getting good support from my social media friends,” he said.
His followers include Union Minister Giriraj Singh and BJP North Gujarat media cell in-charge Parag Sheth.
Asked about Dadhich, Sheth told The Indian Express: “Yes, I follow him. But I do not think I have met him ever. He does not hold any position in the party. He is probably from Surat or somewhere else.”
On the tweet about Lankesh, Sheth said: “If you connect the tweet with the subsequent comments on it, then I think it’s a nasty tweet and should be condemned.”
Sheth said he would not unfollow Dadhich on Twitter. “One person following another (on social media) does not give a character certificate to the latter. And I think it’s a norm of social media that once you have followed a person, you should never unfollow him,” Sheth said.
“Prime Minister has never blocked anybody. Before he assumed the office of Prime Minister, the previous PMO had blocked many Twitter handles. But Saheb has got all of them unblocked. He believes in dialogue with the people of the country and does not block anyone,” Sheth said.