Handlegate: BJP hits out at UPA govt for hiding crucial info

Ahead of Narendra Modi`s swearing-in as Prime Minister, a war has erupted between the Congress-led UPA and the incoming BJP-led NDA government over the renaming of PMO`s official Twitter handle.

Zee Media Bureau/Ritesh K Srivastava

New Delhi: Ahead of Narendra Modi`s swearing-in as Prime Minister, a war has erupted between the Congress-led UPA and the incoming BJP-led NDA government over the renaming of PMO`s official Twitter handle.

The row erupted after the PMO Twitter handle was changed from @PMOIndia to @PMOIndiaArchive, automatically transferring its content and 1.24 million followers to the new account.
The handle @PMOIndia will now be used by the new Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The PMO has now issued a statement saying that the Twitter account was archived as per the provisions of the RTI act.

Reacting to it, Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said: "Continuity in governance and all government assets is the hallmark of the Indian constitution".
"The Twitter account @PMOIndia is a national digital asset. It is disgraceful, unethical and illegal in the way the outgoing team handling the @PMOIndia Twitter account has conducted the transition of this national digital asset," she said.

Pankaj Pachauri, media advisor to Manmohan Singh, tweeted: "This is an office account and the office continues to manage it. The handover is being facilitated."

Lekhi added that the BJP hoped for a smooth transition of the Twitter account and demanded that the Twitter handle of @PMOIndia "must become available to the new incoming government. @PMO is not a personal asset, it is a national asset".

Arvind Gupta, head of the BJP IT cell, posted his indignation: "By renaming @PMOIndia, it showed the world for a while India didn`t have a PM`s office, that there was lack in continuity."

"The process of transition of the PMO Twitter account has been ungraceful and unethical on part of the current establishment," he wrote.

"Hope better sense prevails and the outgoing PMO team archives the national digital asset as per established norms and legal procedures," he added.

Pachauri, in an earlier tweet, posted an advisory: "All our official communications are being archived according to the RTI Act. Copyrights and control remain with the office."

"The PMO is in touch with the Twitter office. We are surrendering the official account," an official source later told reporters.

Modi is among the most Twitter savvy of politicians, unlike Manmohan Singh. He has over four million followers on Twitter and has posted over 5,000 tweets so far.

The PMO account of Manmohan Singh, with his face as the display picture, has over 1.24 million followers.

Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar accused the outgoing government of foul play. "It is appalling that the outgoing Government is playing foul till the last minute #Handlegate @PMOIndia," he tweeted.

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