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A day after HT broke a story confirming the US ambassador to India was planning to meet BJP's prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi, social media websites teemed with reactions bashing the US for being "opportunist". The US was forced to embrace Modi's growing popularity ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in India, they claimed.
"As I tweeted earlier, USA will come to MODI when they will be sure that he will be PM. USA needs India more than India needs USA (sic)," a Twitter handle named 'India First' wrote. "She should be made to wait for a couple of years. The US needs to pay for its foolishness," tweeted another user named AK Narendranath.
"US knows that which way wind is blowing& BJP is going 2 form d govt 2014,so US ambassador Nancy Powell meeting Modi."
The US has signalled it will end its nine-year boycott of Modi. US ambassador Nancy Powell last week asked and received permission from South Block to meet the Gujarat chief minister, Indian and American sources told HT.
Modi, who remains the most mentioned politician on Twitter according to a report by Livemint, has a large fan base on Twitter with an active social media army of the BJP at work round the clock.
Modi supporters are known to troll anything remotely associated with the Gujarat chief minister. Columnist Namita Bhandare wrote for HT in 2012: "These tweeters describe themselves as 'right wing fanatic', 'Modi fan' or, a bit more subtly, 'deshbhakt'. He (and the rarer she) prefers Bharat to India, though he is often located in the US and loves the words, 'paid media', 'Congressi agent' and 'Hindu warrior'. And they tweet from anonymous handles that make it easier for them to heap vile abuse."
Modi's praise did the rounds on the internet all day on Tuesday. "modi is next pm..US also knw tht,so trying to make bettr relatn with india's most powerful leader". "Hey Americans! Our Next pm doesn't need ur endorsement," another 'Modi fanatic' wrote.
While Twitter was ruled by Modi fans, there were a few Facebook posts that supported the US move to reach out to the BJP leader. "…let's face facts. We need US-India relation to grow. Lets not be a hypocrite. Its a global village. WE should welcome any move of closeness," a comment on HT's exclusive story on the thaw in Modi-US relations read.
"My vote will not be based on religion but only for those who are well educated n realistic," a usrer Facebook wrote in an oblique dig at the Gujarat CM. Others, however, did not try to hide their aversion to the BJP leader.
Modi continues to be haunted by the 2002 Gujarat riots that killed more than 1,200 people, of which nearly 950 belonged to the Muslim community. The BJP leader has been denied a US visa for his alleged role or inaction during the riots. "Let modi become PM and watch india sinking in deep sea…" wrote a user who subscribes to the HT page on Facebook.
A few other tweets read:
"Narendra Modi says only the BJP model of development is good for India. Communal BJP what development u hv made we have seen in Karnataka!"
"Narendra Modi--spent crores on PR campaigns over the past few years. Where do you think they will recover the money from?"