The Tamil Nadu BJP has filed an official complaint to the Election Commission of India against Twitter user and former journalist Sonia Arunkumar, who goes by the handle Rajakumaari. The party's legal wing has called her 'anti-social' and demanded that she face immediate action for 'tweeting images with false statements' on the template of the BJP manifesto.
The party's complaint comes following a series of 10 tweets by Sonia on Monday following the release of the BJP manifesto in New Delhi. The first tweet is titled 'He who takes the knife, will die because of the knife' and she has shared four images that at first glance look like the BJP manifesto. The content however is satirical in nature and includes jibes like - we will ban Dalits from entering streets with temples to maintain their sanctity, minimum balance in bank accounts will be made Rs.10,000, Eighth standard students will learn about Veer Savarkar's Hindutva texts in school, 98.6% reservation for Brahmins, appointment of a godman to advice state governments and more. The pictures on a template, however, can be mistaken for the real manifesto.
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"We had seen in the above Twitter account that our election manifesto was immediately upon release forged and being circulated," reads the BJP's complaint. "We had also seen that the above account holder is being followed by 56,900 persons. Such tweets have been retweeted by office bearers of DMK IT wing. It is seen from her profile that she is an active follower of LTTE organisation, which is banned in our nation. Such anti-socials should be faced with severe action. It is brought to our notice that some other such persons also manipulating our official election manifesto and retweeting such forged materials. We need urgent action in this regard," the party demands.
Responding to the complaint, Sonia tells TNM, "I didn't even make these memes. I got them on Whatsapp and was just sharing it. So many other have also shared it, why single me out? Moreover social media offers us the freedom of speech and expression to make such sarcastic comments."
But the BJP maintains that its actions are democratic and terms Sonia a repeat offender.
"A month back she tweeted a picture of the Prime Minister in the Kumbh mela and insinuated that he should be swept away by the water and die," says Narayanan, spokesperson for the Tamil Nadu BJP. "She has to apologise for partaking in this illegal activity. Changing the manifesto and putting it is an act of forgery. We believe that she made it herself and lot of others have shared it. The posts are misleading, demeaning and derogatory in nature. Law will take its course in this matter," he adds.
Sonia responded, "What action has the BJP taken against people like SVe Sekhar who spoke derogatorily about women or H Raja who said the Periyar statues should be destroyed? The party is merely trying to show their might because they are in power. Their functionaries make fun of Stalin and other leaders, even speak badly to women. Will they stop that?"