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Twitter row in India after PM's account reset

BJP furious as team of departing premier reset offical account, transporting its 1.24 million followers to new handle.

Last updated: 22 May 2014 08:13
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The team of departing PM Manmohan Singh reset the @PMOIndia account, renaming it @PMOIndiaArchive [Twitter]

India's official prime minister Twitter handle will be handed over to premier-elect Narendra Modi, an official statement said Wednesday, a day after the account was reset sparking a furious backlash.

On Wednesday, a row has erupted in India after the official Twitter handle of the prime minister was archived and its 1.24 million followers transported to the new account.

 

The team of departing premier Manmohan Singh reset the @PMOIndia account and renamed it @PMOIndiaArchive, angering the incoming Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government led by prime minister-designate Narendra Modi, the AFP news agency reported.

"The Twitter account @PMOIndia is a national digital asset," BJP spokeswoman Meenakshi Lekhi told reporters in New Delhi on Tuesday.

"It is disgraceful, unethical and illegal the way the outgoing team has handled this account."

The BJP said they would now have to start from scratch because the prime minister's account had been archived and its followers "transported", instead of being officially handed over.

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A new PMOIndia account on Twitter showed 4,411 followers. This Twitter handle "is not a personal asset, it is a national asset," Lekhi said.

Another BJP spokeswoman, Nirmala Sitharaman, tweeted that @PMOIndia was an "institutional handle" which should have continued "seamlessly".

Singh's office released a statement defending its action.

"All our official communications are being archived according to the Right To Information Act. Copyrights and control remain with the office," said the prime minister's communications director Pankaj Pachauri.

Modi is set to be sworn in as India's fourteenth prime minister on Monday after the BJP swept to power with the first parliamentary majority in 30 years at the end of a marathon general election.

The ruling Congress party suffered its worst defeat ever, taking just 44 seats out of 543 up for grabs against the BJP's 282.

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