Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior party leaders launched a forceful attack on the Congress today, using the hashtag #JantaMaafNahiKaregi (the public will not forgive) after the opposition party's Sam Pitroda raised questions on the impact of the Balakot air strike. The hashtag became one of the top trends on Twitter within minutes.
"Opposition insults our forces time and again. I appeal to my fellow Indians- question Opposition leaders on their statements. Tell them- 130 crore Indians will not forgive or forget the Opposition for their antics. India stands firmly with our forces. #JantaMaafNahiKaregi," PM Modi tweeted today.
BJP chief Amit Shah followed, attacking the Congress and Mr Pitroda on Twitter, using the hashtag.
"Difference between Opposition and BJP is clear. They suspect our army, we are proud of our army. Their heart beats for terrorists, ours beats for the Tiranga.This election, through the power of your vote, do a surgical strike on the Congress culture. #JantaMaafNahiKaregi," he tweeted.
The family enterprise had doubts about the bravery and valor of our armed forces when they were in power, but today New India stand with its soldiers to defeat forces of terror.#JantaMaafNahiKaregi— Chowkidar Yogi Adityanath (@myogiadityanath) March 22, 2019
Once again Congress speaks the language of terror apologists. Time and again, they betray our jawans and insult the memories of our martyrs. Congress speaks, Pakistan gets headlines. #JantaMaafNahiKaregihttps://t.co/4Z5grnLZpp— Chowkidar Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) March 22, 2019
Commenting on the figure in circulation of "300" terrorists being killed by the Indian Air Force strikes on a terror camp in Balakot on February 26, Mr Pitroda had said: "Give me more facts and prove it."
He had also questioned whether "blaming every citizen" of Pakistan was the right way to respond to attacks like Pulwama.
"Eight people (26/11 terrorists) come and do something, you don't jump on the entire nation(Pakistan). Naive to assume that just because some people came here and attacked, every citizen of that nation is to be blamed. I don't believe in that way," said Mr Pitroda.
Last week, the BJP's #MainBhiChowkidar campaign on social media became a worldwide trend.
Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Tuesday said the #MainBhiChowkidar campaign had been a huge success, with the hashtag being tweeted 20 lakh times and garnering 1,680 crore impressions.
The ruling party and the opposition have been engaged in a pitched battle on social media to gain an upper-hand in the April-May general election, with both sides tweeting blistering attacks at each other over a host of issues. Many political leaders made their debut on Twitter, acknowledging the importance of social media as the most important medium for electoral campaign.
Opposition leaders, meanwhile, have reacted on the controversy triggered by Mr Pitroda's comment.
"The sacrifices of our Armed Forces should never be questioned. To ask questions of politicians in a democracy is our fundamental right. This government needs to stop pretending to be the Indian Army. Politicians who say they cannot be questioned are dangerous," Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav tweeted.
"INC has unequivocally said-: Pulwama Terror Attack was a grave National Security failure of Modi Govt, Balakot Air Strike was a shining example of valour of our Airforce, Pakistan's terror outfits like JEM, LET & others will never succeed in their evil design," Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.