BJP, Congress spar over Rahul Gandhi's Twitter popularity

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A recent report by ANI however, asks if the rise behind the Congress VP's popularity on the micro-blogging site is because of bots.

The Congress could finalise the election schedule to elevate Rahul Gandhi as the party president in the coming week.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi has been making news recently for his renewed Twitter strategy.

Irani, in a sarcastic manner, tweeted: "Perhaps @OfficeOfRG planning to sweep polls in Russia, Indonesia & Kazakhstan??" The tweet quickly reached 20,000 retweets and touched 30,000 at the time of filing this report. "Saal Mubarak", Irani tweeted after Gandhi responded to a report on a Gujarat court barring publication of news on Jay Shah on Friday.

To prove her point she also retweeted a tweet: "10 bots on which ANI story is based, activated 4 days ago.RG's tweet was 6 days ago".

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"In sports, this would come under "Doping". hey wait! does "dope" remind you of someone", tweeted Rajyavardhan Rathore, MoS (independent) for youth affairs and sports.

Union textile and I&B minister, Irani, tweeted to say: "Not suprising that in his keenness to run down Hon PM, Rahul Gandhi maligns the Nation".

Rahul Gandhi's "resurgence" on social media also goes hand in hand with another news report claiming that the Congress had roped in Big Data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica for a more targeted digital campaign to woo voters.

Later the Congress called the BJP's attempt to question Rahul's social media popularity a "diversionary tactic" from the issues raised by the Congress leader online, because BJP did not want to "focus on them". The verbal fight is likely to intensify after Rahul Gandhi launched scathing attacks on BJP ahead of assembly elections in Gujarat. The alleged bots with a Russian, Kazakh or Indonesian feature indicate that fake followers were retweeting the Congress vice-president's tweets, according to The Economic Times.

BJP's Amit Malviya, in-charge of the party's national Information and Technology, tweeted saying: "Rahul Gandhi should have known that popularity can't be bought, certainly not from Russia, Kazakhstan".