Nitin Gadkari, Ram Vilas Paswan Defend Sushma Swaraj, Slams Trolls

Nitin Gadkari said that the decision to issue fresh passport to the inter-faith couple was not wrong.

2 min read

Union ministers Nitin Gadkari and Ram Vilas Paswan on Tuesday, 3 July, spoke out in support of their cabinet colleague Sushma Swaraj, who has been subjected to online trolling and hateful tweets over the Tanvi Seth passport issue.

Gadkari told ANI that the move to issue fresh passport to the inter-faith couple was not a “wrong decision.”

This is very unfortunate. She wasn’t present in the country when this decision was taken. She has no connection with it and the decision isn’t wrong either.
Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister

Gadkari is only the second BJP leader after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to vocally condemn the online abuse Swaraj was subjected to.

Meanwhile, Lok Janshakti Party leader Ram Vilas Paswan took to Twitter to condemn the trolling campaign against the External Affairs Minister.

Later, at a national executive meet of the party's farmers' cell, when asked about the trolling issue, the Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution said the use of such language against Swaraj was wrong, reported PTI.

Many People Face Indecent Behaviour on Social Media: BJP Spokesperson

On the other hand, BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi played down the suggestion that the party had not defended her and said many people face indecent behaviour on social media and that Swaraj has sorted out herself the issue of her abusive trolling by many users on Twitter.

She noted that its senior leaders Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari, both union ministers, have spoken in her support. Spokespersons are not above Singh and Gadkari, she said.

At a press conference, she added in a lighter vein that Swaraj is among those who give protection to others and does not need protection from likes of hers.

"She has sorted out the matter herself," Lekhi said.

The Controversy

Swaraj was bombarded with hate messages on social media after her ministry transferred a passport officer for allegedly harassing an interfaith couple and stalling their travel documents.

On Tuesday, Swaraj instantly blocked a Twitter user who criticised her, unlike what she did in the past few days – liking the abusive posts.

"Why wait? Here you go, I have blocked you," Swaraj said, after the troll asked the External Affairs Minister to block her.

When the controversy had broken out, Swaraj was on an official visit to France, Belgium and Luxembourg.

In the wake of the Tanvi Seth passport row, Swaraj 'liked’ some tweets sent out by trolls and asked her followers if they approve of such tweets. "Friends: I have liked some tweets. This is happening for the last few days. Do you approve of such tweets? Please RT," she tweeted on 30 June.

On 1 July, 24 hours after she started the poll, 57 percent of the respondents backed her, while 43 percent said ‘yes’ to online trolling. A total of 1,24,305 Twitter users participated in the poll.

The Congress condemned the attacks on Swaraj, and attacked the BJP for not coming out in support of the External Affairs Minister.

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