The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister said he has alerted his party cadres against social media content used by the BJP to paint its political rivals in a bad light and also asked them to be “disciplined and decent”.
“Like the demon king Ravana, the BJP is using ‘e-Ravanas’ on social media to spread its propaganda and hatred. Like Ravana, they are there on social media in disguise and spread lies and rumours,” the Samajwadi Party (SP) president told PTI in an interview.
He claimed “pseudo BJP leaders” pose as SP supporters, and post and forward “indecent remarks” on virtual platforms.
“I have asked my party cadres to remain alert and keep an eye on the activities of such dubious elements. Party workers have also been asked not to share, respond or forward anything objectionable on social media, and report the same to the party office,” Yadav said.
Taking an aggressive stand against those spreading false information targeting the SP, the party last week filed a complaint against unidentified people for allegedly creating a fake Twitter account of the party chief and spreading hatred.
The complaint was filed by state SP chief Naresh Uttam, who submitted screenshots of a tweet claiming the party would construct a “Babri mosque” at the place of the Ram temple in Ayodhya after coming to power in the state, sources said.
An FIR was registered in the matter against unidentified people at the Gautam Palli Police Station on July 25.
Sounding a word of caution, Yadav said, “As the state polls are near, BJP men can do anything as they are experts in spreading lies to fool the people to grab power. Their objective is to divert the attention of people from core issues, including development.”
“We have asked our workers to be disciplined, decent and practice restraint in the language they use on social media, which has emerged as a strong medium to communicate. Unfortunately, the BJP is misusing it,” he said.
The former UP chief minister added that it is ironical the BJP cannot highlight any achievement of its government despite ruling the state for four-and-a-half-years.
Stating that the people of the state have hopes from the SP, Yadav claimed the party will win 350 seats in the upcoming assembly elections.
“When the BJP can win over 300 seats by lying, why cannot we win more seats on the development work done by our previous government?” he asked.
The BJP, Yadav asserted, has no faith in democracy.
“It is conspiring so that the entire system goes out of the hands of the people. Its intention is that the people should be behind and the system should dominate. Democracy is in danger. In order to save democracy from BJP’s deceit, the SP is raising the voice of people,” he added.
The SP leader also hit out at the ‘worsening’ law and order situation in the northern state under the BJP regime.
“The entire country has seen what treatment was meted out to women during the panchayat poll nominations, how BJP goons took the law in their hands and misbehaved with women,” he said.
Yadav had earlier alleged that BJP workers pulled the saris of SP candidate Ritu Singh and her proposer Anita Yadav during the recent block panchayat chief elections in Lakhimpur Kheri.
Based on Ritu Singh’s complaint, a case was filed against BJP workers in Lakhimpur. Six policemen were also suspended.
Refuting Yadav’s claims, state BJP spokesperson Manish Shukla said, “People whom he (the SP chief) is referring to as e-ravanas are actually e-yodhyaas, who are exposing the real face of the Samajwadi Party.”
The BJP has said those involved in any misbehaviour will not be spared, he said.
“Owing to the active nature of social media, the real face and character of the SP has reached the masses. People have come to know that how they (the SP) literally looted government jobs by appointing their people as chairmen of various commissions,” Shukla said.
People have seen “how investors returned from UP (without investing) after seeing the atmosphere of fear. There were celebrations at Saifai, while people living in camps in Muzaffarnagar, continued to shiver in the cold. These things are still fresh in the minds of people only because of social media”, he said attacking the SP.
Shukla added that the SP chief did not do anything constructive while in opposition.