Prashant Kishor, who has an incredible tendency to align with the winning political party before an election and then claim victory for himself and his consultancy firm I-PAC in totality, had only recently been exposed as a person who illegally takes over social media accounts of TMC leaders. Former Trinamool stalwart, Dinesh Trivedi had revealed the same, saying that Prashant Kishor and his Indian Political Action Committee usurped the social media accounts and Twitter handles of all TMC leaders to post abusive tweets, targeting the Modi government.
Now, a nexus of Abhishek Banerjee and Prashant Kishor has come to light which shows that Twitter verified new handles of TMC leaders in a wholesale manner, without any due diligence. A report by the Sunday Guardian Live has revealed that the Twitter accounts of all the TMC leaders were “immediately verified”, on the basis of a list sent by the office of Abhishek Banerjee to Payal Kamat, who handles “public policy and government’ at Twitter India.
The revelation has further stamped authority over the belief of many, who consider Twitter a politically biased social media platform with the power to alter electoral outcomes. Twitter India went out of its way to verify handles of new TMC leaders who had barely joined the platform, and whose tweets were being put out by Prashant Kishor and his team of I-PAC workers. While Dinesh Trivedi has stated that such handles were being used to put out vitriolic tweets against the Modi government and BJP, Twitter did not hesitate even minutely before verifying these handles as a favour to Prashant Kishor and Abhishek Banerjee.
Most importantly, Payal Kamat, to whom Abhishek Banerjee’s office had sent the list of TMC leaders to be verified, had worked for Indian-Political Action Committee as their communication manager from August 2015 to April 2018. As such, Kamat seems to be an old friend of Kishor, who is now not shying away from brazenly favouring the TMC solely because Prashant Kishor is associated with the party.
The fact that Kishor and his team operate the ‘verified’ social media accounts of TMC leaders shows how the constant rants and abuses directed towards the BJP and the Modi government are not independent opinions of the leaders themselves, but vitriolic statements made by Kishor and his firm on their behalf, without their consent. Not only is Prashant Kishor an overrated number cruncher, but also a person who hijacks social media handles of people he claims to work with. However, some senior TMC leaders are not giving in to Prashant Kishor just yet. MP’s Mahua Moitra, Derek O’Brien, Nusrat Jahan, Abhishek Banerjee and others have not given access to I-PAC to operate their social media accounts, the Sunday Guardian Live report added.
It must be remembered that Twitter has made verification very difficult; at least for conservatives and those with an inclination to the Right. The fact that the microblogging platform, which has recently come into the crosshairs of the Modi government is blatantly biased is known to all. However, that it would ignore all due processes only to placate the TMC and Prashant Kishor’s I-PAC is most definitely shameful, and perhaps, even illegal.