BJP forced Snapdeal: BJP’s social media cell was directed to build a pressure through social media on e-commerce giant Snapdeal to eliminate popular actor Aamir Khan as its brand ambassador after his comment last year on intolerance which was alleged as critical of the government.
BJP’s former volunteer social media team member, Sadhavi Khosla who quit at the end of 2015 shared a purported Whatsapp message with journalist Swati Chaturvedi whose upcoming book ‘I am a Troll’ will be published by Juggernaut soon.
While expressing his views about at the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards in November 2015, Amir 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 everyday. That does indicate that there is a sense of growing disquiet.”
Following these comments, Sadhavi Khosla mentioned that the BJP social media cell had launched a campaign to get out Aamir Khan as the brand ambassador of Snapdeal. She also claimed that the head of the BJP’s IT cell Arvind Gupta had sent the message to her personally along with her Whatsapp groups associated with the team.
One of the Gupta’s message sent to Khosla mentioned, “Sign the Petition to Snapdeal India. Appeal Snapdeal to drop Aamir Khan from their ads” along with the link to the petition. As a result, at the end of January 2016, Snapdeal did not review the contract of Aamir Khan.
Meanwhile, Gupta rejected Khosla’s claims stating “she supports the Congress” and “has all reasons to publish unsubstantiated claims”, and that Chaturvedi is basing her “fictitious stories on the same due to vested interests,” The Indian Express reported.
Gupta claimed that BJP never encouraged trolling and had published social media guidelines on its website. Arvind Gupta said that he “does not directly supervise social media activities since 2015 when the party structure was recognized,” and that the media cell of BJP is headed by another person since July 2015.
“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,” read another WhatsApp message sent on November 24, 2015, to Khosla by Hindu Defence League (HDL) a day after Aamir’s statement.
When the issue was raised, server messages against Aamir Khan were seen being circulated on the social media platforms which are supported by several staunch Hindu groups.