On the international Yoga day, Rahul Gandhi had decided to celebrate the day by mocking and insulting the Indian Army. He had posted an insensitive tweet which had a couple of pictures of the Indian Army dogs and their handlers performing exercises on the occasion of the Yoga Day. While this would have been okay, the Gandhi scion had gone and mocked the exercise as “New India”.
New India. pic.twitter.com/10yDJJVAHD
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) June 21, 2019
The motive behind the tweet is incomprehensible to anyone as neither is it achieving any political motive nor does it seem to be in furtherance to any other agenda. The tweet was solely meant to mock the BSF dogs and coming from Rahul Gandhi, a supposed dog lover; this is extremely strange.
The twitterati echoed these sentiments and came out wondering why Rahul Gandhi would do this. Amongst the pondering, a new question rose up as to the brain behind the tweet. However much self-destructive Rahul Gandhi has been, this tweet seemed straight up imbecile. Some people even wondered if the account is being run by the BJP, as that would only explain the destructive tweet. While the suggestion was a sarcastic attempt of a twitterati, the need to know the person behind the twitter account gained sudden momentum.
Who is handling this account?
— Gabbbar (@GabbbarSingh) June 21, 2019
The man behind the account is 48-year-old Nikhil Alva. Middle of the three sons of senior Congress leader and former Rajasthan governor Margaret Alva, Alva is a former social media entrepreneur. Rahul Gandhi and Nikhil Alva were also contemporaries at the St Stephen’s College in Delhi and were just a year apart.
According to a report by Business Standard, in Congress circles, Alva is known as the ‘gatekeeper’ of Rahul Gandhi’s Twitter handle. However, when asked by a BS reporter about his role as the handler of Rahul Gandhi’s twitter account, he said “he didn’t want to be written about”. But, Congress insiders told BS that “all of Gandhi’s tweets need to pass Alva’s muster. It is Alva who actually presses the ‘tweet’ button.”
According to a report by Economic Times, Nikhil Alva had formally taken control of Rahul Gandhi’s social media accounts including Twitter and Facebook after the Karnataka elections last year in May. He is said to be the brain behind several catchy tweets such as “How’s the jobs” and “NoMo Jobs”, aimed at dissing the current government.
Apart from the social media accounts, according to ET, Nikhil Alva is involved in the entire media planning for Rahul Gandhi, including planning special initiatives such as “Apni Baat Rahul Ke Sath”.
Such was the level of Alva’s influence that according to a report by the New Indian Express, Congress’ social media in-charge Divya Spandana had been sidelined and her role was downsized as a majority of her responsibilities were shifted to Alva.
Nikhil Alva’s real role had been visible in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections. Congress’ highlight of the elections, which they had hoped would change their electoral fortunes and essentially the only thing they campaigned about- the NYAY, was the brainchild of Nikhil Alva. According to ET, he was the brain behind the campaign. After the scheme was announced by Rahul Gandhi, on 28th March he formed a committee consisting of- his sister, Priyanka Vadra, his mentor, Sam Pitroda and Nikhil Alva. Nikhil Alva was given 10 days to develop a campaign around the NYAY scheme during which Alva arranged everything from artist, writer, and director to actors and studio. ‘Ab Hoga NYAY’ has been a major fiasco of the Congress and given that it’s one of the reasons for Congress’ electoral debacle, the party should have ideally reduced their dependence on Nikhil Alva. But they never learn.
The first indication of the infamous tweet coming from somebody other than Rahul Gandhi came from a senior editor supposedly close to the Congress party leadership.
Look at this : we r being told someone else could have tweeted on behalf of rahul yesterday ! Makes him look worse : why don’t they get this ! Anyway why should we give any unsolicited advice to the grand old party
— pallavi ghosh (@_pallavighosh) June 22, 2019
Although this might be a tactic to shield Rahul Gandhi, the fact is Rahul Gandhi is either not in control of his own twitter account or if he is, certainly he holds responsibility for the tweet. Either way, this does not reflect well on the kind of leadership he provides to the party. The authority to hold the reins over the account had been given to Alva, or any other individual, by Rahul Gandhi and if the tweet is creating a negative impact amongst the people, the sympathizers cannot subtly try and shift the responsibility. Perhaps it would be prudent for Rahul Gandhi to control his own handle or replace Alva with an individual who echoes his own thoughts, so that when the situation arises, at least the Gandhi scion can portray his tweets as his own. Otherwise, how can the citizens expect a man to run the country when he can’t even run his own twitter account?