Shilpi Tiwari, the former aide of Union minister Smriti Irani, is the latest BJP associate to be at the receiving end of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) controversy.
A supporter of the national party, Tiwari is being accused of promoting a fake video of the events at the JNU campus that sparked a raging battle between the ruling NDA and Opposition, and led to the arrest of JNU student body leader Kanhaiya Kumar among others.
A forensic report concluded that at least two out of the seven widely circulated videos from that evening, based on which Delhi Police charged Kumar of sedition, were “doctored”.
Usually very active on Twitter, campaigning against the Congress and promoting the BJP, Tiwari has been radio silent since the row escalated in the Parliament.
Her last tweet on February 27 read: “Somewhere else for a few days. Enjoy.”
On the same day, she also retweeted a post that said:
WATCH : marxist student from JNU. First diverts & then slyly acepts that abusive pamphlet for durga was distributed https://t.co/L18zBpEyic— news : Smriti Irani (@SmritiIraniNews) February 27, 2016
With 80,936 followers on the micro-blogging site, Tiwari is probably one of BJP’s stronger batters in the social media field. She even has Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah among her followers. However, since the brickbats began streaming in, Tiwari has maintained a low profile.
The last time she was in the news was when Irani allegedly tried to accommodate her in the human resource development ministry by overlooking a few norms.
Tiwari was Irani’s campaign manager in Amethi in the 2014 elections, and is considered to be a close associate of the minister.
According to an internal meeting note of the ministry, Irani’s office wanted Tiwari to be appointed as a consultant with a monthly fee of Rs 35,000 “to work on website, social media and other communication related activities including but not limited to design and content development of the MHRD (Ministry of human resource development)” in March 2015.
The note approved “relaxation in qualifications of Ms Shilpi Tiwari” for the appointment.
The position requires a post graduate in MTech but, Tiwari was just an undergraduate in Architecture from the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi.
Tiwari finally did not take the offer. “But she would be seen mostly in the rooms of top officers. She avoided talking to the media persons,” said an officer who worked in the ministry when Tiwari’s name was under consideration for the consultant’s post.