BHUBANESHWAR: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today raised questions on the authenticity of chief minister Naveen Patnaik's popularity in social media and alleged that his twitter account has thousands of fake followers.
Raising the issue at a media conference here today, BJP general secretary Bhrigu Buxipatra criticised the chief minister misleading the public by inflating the number of his followers in Twitter. The chief minister who joined Twitter in September 2015, now has 677K followers.
Buxipatra said the number of chief minister's followers was within 1.5 lakh till June 2017. But from July 1 to August 25, within a period of 52 days, the number of his followers has increased by 4.73 lakh. He said out of the 6165 new followers of Naveen, 3888 have no followers. They have not twitted even once, he said and added that all these accounts have been opened in July and August 2017.
Considering that Naveen's twitter handle @naveen_Odisha has been posting 2.5 tweets per day on an average since June 2017 and number of twitter users in Odisha is less than three lakh, it is unusual to add so many followers in such a short time, he said.
Buxipatra said @naveen_Odisha has added 9000 followers per day in July and August 2017. The number of followers which were being added to his twitter handle was 100 per day before July 2017.“The chief minister is misleading youths through fabricated information. We have found nearly 6,500 such fake accounts in our survey,” he said.
The BJP leader said, "We investigated the root cause of increasing twitter followers over the last two months and found that robots or automated programs have been used to create fake profiles. These fake profiles then start following @naveen_odisha handle".
The BJD, however, dismissed the BJP allegation as baseless and political motivated. Government chief whip in the assembly and BJD spokesperson Amar Prasad Satpathy said the allegation has been made out of frustration. Increase in the number of followers of chief minister's twitter is natural and the BJP is now afraid to face the people, he said.
Minister of state for electronics and information technology Chandra Sarathi Behera said the number of Twitter followers of the chief minister has increased because of the pro-people programmes launched by him.