Mired in allegations of assault, trolling and disrupting public events, newly appointed Delhi BJP spokesperson Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga spent his first day accepting bouquets from well-wishers. Sitting in the media room of the Delhi BJP headquarters at Pandit Pant Marg, he scrolled through Twitter to reach a tweet by senior advocate Prashant Bhushan. “No surprise that BJP appoints lumpen thugs like Bagga as their spokesman. Can’t expect better from Shah/Modi who have promoted thugs all over,” Bhushan had tweeted hours after the BJP’s announcement. Bagga had in October, 2011, allegedly attacked Bhushan over a statement made by him on Kashmir. A trial in that case is underway.
Bagga was then a member of the Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena. But despite documentary evidence of the attack, Bagga denied having attacked Bhushan. “To comment on the matter is not right as it is sub judice. But I can tell you this — I was not the one who attacked Bhushan and I was not even present there. It’s been six years; do you think police could not find proof against me in six years if there was any?” said Bagga, receiving another rose bouquet from a young supporter.
“Majority of the tweets,” Bagga said, “are in my favour. You just go and check it on Twitter.”
While Bagga had reportedly tweeted after the incident, “He try to break my nation, i try to break his head (sic)”, that tweet now stands deleted. “I never wrote any such tweet,” he said. In May, 2011, Bagga and three others were arrested for disrupting an event to launch Arundhati Roy’s book. “What happened that day was that Roy was advocating that Kashmir be given to Pakistan. I did not attack her. I just registered my protest by reaching the stage,” he said.
Being made spokesperson ahead of the Delhi municipal polls, Bagga, an Arts graduate from IGNOU, said the capital will witness a “Kejriwal-mukt Delhi” campaign, along the lines of the “Congress-mukt Bharat” campaign run by BJP across the nation. Bagga said he has been with the BJP since he was 18. “I worked at the mandal-level and became the youngest BJP youth executive member in 2007,” he said.
He said he started the Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena, a now defunct outfit, in 2011 as he was not able to do certain things while being a BJP member. He said that in 2012, he was invited by the then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi to help run his ‘Modify India’ campaign. He claimed that this became the official campaign for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Despite frequently making news over his aggressive comments on Twitter, Bagga said he is not a troll. “You say I am a troll. When people write things about their leanings, I simply ask questions. I have never used abusive language,” he said. While Bagga’s Twitter timeline appears to have been cleaned of any controversial statements he tweeted, the list of allegations against him is long. He is alleged to have defaced walls around the Pakistan High Commission and heckled separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani at an event.
He also allegedly tweeted that tennis player Sania Mirza should play for Pakistan after she married Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Malik. Asked whether his appointment will influence Sikh voters in the capital, he said, “We do not believe in caste politics. Yet, I can tell you, Sikhs have always been with the BJP.” When contacted, Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said, “I didn’t know of these allegations. I saw in him a dedicated party worker who is very prompt in his work, so I chose him.”