After allegations were levelled against Prime Minister Narendra Modi of following people who abuse on social media websites, Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) official Twitter handle on Thursday issued a statement calling the controversy "mischievous and contorted".
"The controversy over Prime Minister following people on Twitter is mischievous and contorted. PM Modi is the only leader who freely engages with people on social media platforms," the statement reads.
It said that he follows normal people and frequently interacts with them on various issues. It also said that he is a rare leader who truly believes in freedom of speech and has never blocked or unfollowed anyone on Twitter.
"We have multiple examples of leaders curbing free speech on social media, including the previous PMO handle," it reads.
Defending the PM and his general attitude towards people, the statement said, "He follows normal people and frequently interacts with them on various issues. He is a rare leader who truly believes in freedom of speech and has never blocked or unfollowed anyone on Twitter. We have multiple examples of leaders curbing free speech on social media, including the previous PMO handle."
"PM following someone is not a character certificate of a person and is not in anyway a guarantee of how a person would conduct himself. However, PM also follows Rahul Gandhi, who is an accused in loot and fraud," the statement added.
Taking a dig at Delhi CM, it said,"PM also follows Arvind Kejriwal, who abused him on Twitter and told a woman 'Settle Kar lo' when she complained of a party member molesting her."
"PM still follows Parthesh Patel, a former BJP volunteer who joined Congress and abused PM in the worst possible language."
Soon after the journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh's murder, a war of words erupted on social media and escalated to the extent of making a hashtag urging people to block Prime Minister Narendra Modi trending on Twitter.
Many Twitter users decided to block the PM Modi as angered by reports that some of the users who have been cheering Lankesh's death are followed by Modi (personal account). #BlockNarendraModi was trending on the social networking site.