The first ever Twitter Townhall announced by Gujarat’s new Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, turned into a closed-door interview to a local news channel on Friday as Twitterati kept awaiting for his replies and later took to mocking his absence on the popular microblogging site. More than 8000 tweets went unanswered as the Townhall did not take off at the designated time, and Rupani’s official handle seemed like it was on mute, despite the hastag #AskVijayRupani trended till late in the day.
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‘Technical glitches’ had allegedly marred the first ever Twitter Townhall hosted by Rupani, sources claimed. Close to 30,000 questions were fielded to the chief minister, of which 15-16 queries were sorted and put to him at a ‘televised interview’ by the local news channel, they added. The interview will be aired today evening.
Rupani, however, claimed that the townhall was a huge success. “Twitter Town Hall was a phenomenal success. Such interactions strengthen democracy. I thank all the participants,” he tweeted.
The entire Twitter Town Hall event that was held behind closed doors at Swarnim Sankul-1 at Gandhinagar was recorded in collaboration with a local television channel, where Rupani took questions on touchy subjects such as the future of fixed pay employees, 2017 Gujarat assembly elections, bootlegging and Aam Aadmi Party allegedly spreading lies against the BJP government.
Though the questions that Rupani chose to respond were not immediately known, the five major issues that he dealt with included the AAP, wherein he welcomed Arvind Kejriwal to visit Gujarat and said that AAP was spreading “lies” in the state. Kejriwal is expected to visit Gujarat in October.
Regarding the issue of state government employees on fixed pay, the CM said that such employees will be made permanent after completion of their fifth year in service. He also promised to handle issues related to bootlegging “seriously”. In his responses Rupani also assured that all cattle in the state will be tagged and will be duly registered.
Meanwhile, Twitter handles associated with Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti flooded Rupani’s handle with questions on scrapping of ‘fixed pay’ for scores of government employees and the Patidar reservation movement.
Rupani had announced a Twitter Townhall initiative on September 15 and hoardings came up in various parts of Ahmedabad announcing the same. Many took to social media to vent their ire about the lack of response from Rupani. “Sir, I can understand that morning drills can be tiring but its very rude to keep people waiting for an hour.#GujCMMissing #AskVijayRupani,” wrote one user.
Many Congress and AAP supporters and office bearers who had fielded questions to Rupani expressed their displeasure as the event failed to take off. Rohan Gupta Chairman of GPCC IT Cell tweeted to the BJP via his handle @rohangupta, “@BJP4India #GujCMMissing from the #TwitterTownhall with @vijayrupanibjp Have the questions been to difficult to answer? #AskVijayRupani”
BJP’s Gujarat unit, however, tweeted late on Friday noon, claiming that “#AskVijayRupani a very successful interview done by CM @vijayrupanibjp we are happy with world wide support”.