A war of tweets broke-out between Delhi’s chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and Paytm’s founder and CEO, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, after advertisements surfaced where the latter congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for demonetising Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes -- a move that will benefit Paytm as people would choose mobile wallets till fresh currency notes are issued.
Kejriwal tweeted, hinting at a probable prearrangement between the Modi government and Paytm: “Paytm is the biggest beneficiary of PM’s announcement. Next day PM appears in its ads. What’s the deal Mr. PM?”
Pat came Sharma’s reply. “Dear Sir, the biggest beneficiary is our country. We are just a tech startup, trying to solve financial inclusion and make India proud,” he tweeted.
In an interview to HT, on Wednesday night, Sharma had said, “the removal of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes will help the company, as a lot of people will use Paytm.”
After Sharma’s tweet, Kejriwal deleted his comment.
But by then both the tweets had had their impact. Kejriwal’s tweeted was retweeted more than 10,000 times and liked by over 3,000 people. Sharma’s got retweeted about 8,000 times and had similar number of likes.
Meanwhile, there was a surge in Paytm’s usage. According to data from the company, in the days after the demonetisation, Paytm’s traffic grew seven times, app downloads increased three times, people added 30% more money to their wallets on Thursday (the first day increase was 10 times over normal days), online transactions grew three times, and offline (payment to retailers) grew five times. Paytm’s transaction value continued to grow 200% every day for the past couple of days.
Some of the other Twitter users replied to Kejriwal, tweeting that there were companies which benefited from the odd-even drive. “Uber was the biggest beneficiary of the odd-even scheme. Was there a deal there, too @ArvindKejriwal?” read a tweet.
But Kejriwal did not stop at that. A while later, in reply to someone’s tweet with the picture of the ad, he tweeted, “Utterly shameful. Do people want their PM to model for pvt cos? Tomo, if these companies do wrongdoings, who will act against them.”
There is no reaction from Sharma on that one, yet.