Over a year after actor Aamir Khan made his remark on ‘rising intolerance’ in the country, he is still facing the wrath of Bharatiya Janata Party members. The BJP social media cell is said to be among those instructed by the party’s IT cell head, to build pressure on e-commerce platform Snapdeal to drop the actor Aamir Khan as its brand ambassador.
The revelation has been made by a former volunteer of the party’s social media team, Sadhavi Khosla. She shared purported WhatsApp messages sent to her with journalist Swati Chaturvedi whose book I am a Troll is being published by Juggernaut.
As per reports, Khosla said the BJP social media cell organised a campaign to get Aamir removed as the brand ambassador of Snapdeal. She claimed that the messages were sent to her by the head of the BJP IT cell Arvind Gupta.
Aamir had said: “Kiran (his wife Kiran Rao) and I have lived all our lives in India. For the first time, she said, should we move out of India? That’s a disastrous and big statement for Kiran to make to me. She fears for her child. She fears about what the atmosphere around us will be. She feels scared to open the newspapers every day. That does indicate that there is a sense of growing disquiet.”
A message shared by Khosla allegedly two days after Khan’s comments said: “Sign the Petition to Snapdeal India. Appeal Snapdeal to drop Aamir Khan from their ads.” Snapdeal did not renew Khan’s contract when it ended in January 2016.
However, Gupta has rejected Khosla’s claims, saying she supports Congress. He also termed her claims as “fictitious stories” due to “vested interests”. In fact, he claimed that he is not directly responsible for social media activities of the party but added that the BJP never “encouraged trolling”.
One of the other messages sent by Hindu Defence League that Khosla shared with Chaturvedi stated: “Time to attack Snapdeal like…(we) did with greenply plywood and forced them to withdraw the defamatory ad!! Snapdeal customer care number…& threaten of negative publicity & ruining business if amir khan is not kicked out from brand ambassadorship!! Let’s show Hindu unity.”
As per Chaturvedi, HDL’s Twitter handle was @HDLindiaOrg which had Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a follower. The account has now been suspended.