Did Narendra Modi’s Office Interfere in Rafale Deal, Asks Twitter
The controversy surrounding the Rafale deal just refuses to die. A story in The Hindu on Friday, 8 February, revealed a file noting from the then defence secretary G Mohan Kumar, protesting against the alleged interference by the Prime Minister’s Office in the Rafale Deal. According to the story, the French government took advantage of the parallel parleys by the PMO. In his noting, the defence secretary said such parleys “weaken our (India’s) negotiating position.”
Congress President Rahul Gandhi was quick to react and held a press conference on Friday morning, attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Even before the press conference, Gandhi took to Twitter to create a buzz around it.
Taking a cue from Rahul Gandhi, the Congress social media team and party supporters began tweeting with the hashtag #PakdaGayaModi (Modi Got Caught).
But the attacks on PM Modi weren’t restricted to the Congress. Several other Opposition parties also targetted him, citing The Hindu’s story.
Even the rebel BJP MP from Darbhanga Kirti Azad accused Modi of “poking his nose” into the Rafale Deal.
However, there was a push back from the BJP, which questioned Rahul Gandhi as well as the publication which did the story.
Many twitter users cited an ANI report which revealed the entire document which contains the then defence minister Manohar Parrikar’s response to the defence secretary.
However, the Parrikar’s response given in the ANI story, didn’t quite help the government’s case. Many said that in fact it was an admission of the PMO’s alleged interference in the Rafale deal.
In terms of social media buzz, the Opposition seems to have gained the upper hand as #PakdaGayaModi trended on Twitter all through the day on Friday. The top trend, however, was #RafaleDeal which was also dominated by negative opinions about the government’s role. In contrast, the pro-government hashtag #ForTheFirstTime trended for a brief while but dropped out from the top trends.
The social media battle between the government and the Opposition has been like a roller-coaster. On Thursday night, PM Modi’s speech dominated discussions on social media. But by Friday morning, the Opposition had once again set the narrative.