A loudmouth, a "troll" but extremely effective and influential on social media, particularly Twitter. In the forthcoming elections to the Delhi Assembly, Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga, the Twitter titan, will be the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate from Hari Nagar constituency.
On Twitter, Bagga refers to himself as a "#SwayamSewak"; the 34-year-old has been associated with the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh, BJP's parent organisation, since the age of four.
Bagga first shot to the limelight in 2011 when he, along with another aide, allegedly assaulted senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan over the latter's statement on Kashmir. After the attack, Bagga tweeted: “He try to break my nation, i try to break his head (sic).”
In 2017, the BJP appointed Bagga as party's Delhi spokesperson, a move that came as a surprise to many, given his past actions and tweets. However the same year, in an interview to Caravan magazine, when Bagga was told there were news reports that his Twitter timeline had been cleared of controversial tweets, the leader said: "Six months back, I deactivated my Twitter account and when I reactivated it, naturally the tweets were gone."
Three years since that interview, some would say little has changed as the leader still tweets and retweets questionable content, leading to controversies as well as condemnation.
For instance, Bagga recently called for a boycott of Deepika Padukone-starrer films after the Bollywood actor paid a visit to the students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, following an attack on them at the hands of masked men and women, who wielded sticks and hammers.
Not just that, Bagga, since the release of Chapaak, has been sharing reports on Twitter that paint a grim picture of the Deepika-helmed film and its box office collection.
The politician Bagga has been actively participating in Twitter conversations "dispelling rumours about the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC)."
However, he has also been accused of sharing doctored videos of protests against the newly amended law. On January 6, 2020, Bagga posted a video of a protest at the Gateway of India against the violence on JNU students.
He alleged that "Muslim and Leftists students in Mumbai again Raised Slogans "Hinduo se Aazadi" but this time not in Jamia or JNU, they raised Hinduo se Aazadi Slogans at Gateway of India Mumbai."
Muslim and Leftists students in Mumbai again Raised Slogans "Hinduo se Aazadi" but this time not in Jamia or JNU , they raised Hinduo se Aazadi Slogans at Gateway of India Mumbai. Will @MumbaiPolice @OfficeofUT take action or support this goons Silently ? pic.twitter.com/7Cq9ci8tE5— Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga (@TajinderBagga) January 6, 2020
Bagga was later called out by actor Konkana Sen Sharma, and fact-checking website AltNews reported -- No, “Hinduo Se Azaadi” Slogan was not Raised
One of Bagga's tweets to Bollywood actor Swara Bhaskar, one of the vocal critics of the Narendra Modi-led government at the centre, drew flak from all quarters.
Why you doing ah ah ah after seeing my name ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ® https://t.co/ysZN3g82eM— Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga (@TajinderBagga) January 6, 2020
Another one, a retweet, about journalist Arfa Khan Sherwani was even more obnoxious.
On January 20, Bagga retweeted "Doctor Wait", who posted a photograph featuring a Kashmiri man who had been tied to the bonnet of a jeep in 2017 by Major Leetul Gogoi.
The Art The Artist pic.twitter.com/5Xn3jbYMb0— Doctor Wait (@Drpratiksha1) January 19, 2020
With over 6,50,000 followers, Bagga is undeniably a popular figure on Twitter, an "influencer", in the social media parlance. On Monday, when the BJP released its second list of candidates, celebrations broke out on his Twitter timeline. This, just days after he was trolled when his name was missing on the first list. Bagga also announced that a new Twitter account, dedicated to his office, had been created for campaign-related work.
Delhi goes to polls on February 8 in what appears to be a two-cornered contest between the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP and the BJP. The results will be declared on February 11.