Hours after industrialist Rahul Bajaj told Home Minister Amit Shah at an ET Awards function in Mumbai on Saturday evening that industrialists were afraid to criticise the Centre and voice their concerns, BJP IT cell chief took to Twitter to troll him.
Amit Malviya in a series of tweets said:
• Rahul Bajaj’s question to Home Minister Amit Shah, now being hailed as speaking truth to power, had an equally detailed response. Where is the fear if one can speak his mind?
• ‘It is difficult for me to praise anyone’, said Rahul Bajaj except off course if it is Rahul Gandhi. Wear your political affiliation on your sleeve and don’t hide behind inanities like there is atmosphere of fear and all that...
• If one had such fawning view of Rahul Gandhi, when he is an unmitigated disaster, then it is only natural to spin imaginary yarn and assume the worst for the current regime. Truth be told - industrialists who flourished in the license raj will always be beholden to the Congress.
Malviya was clearly riled by Bajaj telling Amit Shah during the question and answer session that he was named by the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. And his tweets on cue led to a spate of tweets maligning Bajal, chairperson of the Bajaj Group.
The reaction both amused and irritated people with a journalist tweeting, “Rahul Bajaj said at the time of UPA govt we could criticize govt. Within minutes this dangerous IT cell has dug out some random 30 seconds to pull him down, troll him. So that no other industrialist speak truth to power.”
Another commentator quipped, “Dear Rahul Bajaj, anyone can say anything to criticise this govt; there is no fear & if you don't agree, we will abuse u, threaten u till u do agree. --your friendly neighbourhood Online Troll Army.”
A third one commented, “The “other” industrialists must have squirmed in their seats while the 81 years old gentleman raised concerns. After all, it’s not every day that Amit Shah is left tongue tied.”
While BJP supporters, stung by the industrialist’s blunt reference to lynchings, former union minister P Chidambaram incarcerated for 100 days without trial and the BJP giving a long rope to MP Pragya Singh Thakur, launched a tirade on Sunday against Bajaj, this is what the 81 industrialists had said, evoking both applause and laughter from the audience:
• I have to wrongly or rightly maintain my reputation, it’s very difficult for me to praise anybody. I was not born that way and I have to be supportive of the poor, of the disadvantaged. My grandfather was supposed to be the adopted son of Mahatma Gandhi. My name, you will not like it, my name Rahul was given to me by Jawaharlalji.
• Today anybody can be called a patriot, you know the man who shot Gandhiji, or is there any doubt about that, I don’t know. This was said earlier, you gave the ticket, she won, that’s all right, she won because of your support, no one knew her. Gave her a ticket, then you brought her into the consultative committee. The Prime Minister had said that it would be difficult for him to forgive her, still you brought her into the consultative committee etc. etc. All right, she was removed, and for this session, this small session, she won’t have the permission to attend. This is one example.
• In UPA 2, we could abuse anybody, that is a different matter. You are doing good work but still we don’t have the confidence that if we openly criticise you, it will be appreciated. I may be wrong, fine. But we all feel this way that, I cannot speak for everyone, but I should not be saying this. People are laughing, that go and get hanged
• We are afraid. It is our fault that we are, but there are some things I did not want to say, we see that someone has not even been convicted, not become a convict, not rape, not treason, not murder, white collar crime, very bad, pickpocket, all right, a matter of thousands of crores, yes that is wrong, but without being convicted someone is in jail for 100 days.
BJP supporters were not amused. While they pounced upon Bajaj and asked if he had ever been so outspoken before UPA leaders (he was), Amit Shah himself in his reply said that after Bajaj’s question, nobody would believe there was a climate of fear.
But a BJP supporter wondered if Bajaj and industrialists were upset because their interests and expectations are not being met or if they are unwilling to change their old ways of doing business or they are missing easy access to to get things done, easy loans and phone-banking.