A new trend emerged to add colour to the government-BJP battle over hoisting the tricolour at Srinagar’s Lal Chowk on Republic Day: non-stop tweeting.
Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj gave live updates on twitter about the drama at Jammu airport when the state government prevented her and other BJP leaders Arun Jaitley and Ananth Kumar from leaving for Srinagar. TV channels picked up Swaraj’s tweets and flashed them promptly.
Soon, the twitter world was abuzz with responses to the events unfolding on the tarmac for more than two hours.
Swaraj began by saying, “we have landed in Jammu. It appears they have locked the terminal gates. Not being allowed to go out.”
Later, she said, “they have served us an order under section 144 Cr P C. They want us to fly back…”
She added more colour a few minutes later. “Initially, they were not allowing us to deplane. Now, we have come out. We are sitting on the tarmac…they are not allowing the plane (that brought them) to fly back. We have refused.”
That was soon followed by her next tweet, "They have the power to arrest us. How can they deport us."
Swaraj’s remark drew a quick twitter response from NDTV anchor Nidhi Razdan, “by using ‘deport’ a lot in her tweets, Swaraj seems to have forgotten that J&K is an Indian state.”
When some TV channels ran a scroll that BJP leaders claim their phones have been confiscated, a twitter asked, “Is this the end of Swaraj’s tweets?” Swaraj was soon back on the twitter. “Arun Jaitley and Ananth Kumar are trying to reason with the authorities. You can’t do this (detain the BJP leaders) under Section 144.”
Former BJP chief Rajnath Singh announced he would go on hunger strike at Rajghat (the samadhi of Gandhiji) from Monday night to protest the government’s decision to prevent the flag-hoisting in Srinagar. "We have urged the president to intervene in the matter as two of our senior leaders are being stopped at Jammu," Singh said after his phone call to President Pratibha Patil.
"I requested her (Patil) to tell the Centre to permit the youth wing to hoist the tricolour." "Under the UPA regime, secessionists are enjoying royal treatment while nationalist and integrationists are being assailed simply because they have plans to unfurl the national flag at the Lal Chowk in Srinagar," BJP chief Nitin Gadkari said in a message from China where he on tour.
BJP’s chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad alleged the central government and the Congress were behind the decision to stop his party leaders at the airport. “It is our allegation that all this is happening because of government of India and Congress party.” he said, adding that Congress party was a partner in the coalition in Jammu and Kashmir.
“The march is in no way a confrontation with the government or political parties."“If there is a confrontation, it is with separatists who are opposing the march.”