Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga, @TajinderBagga, describes himself as a ‘Swayamsevak, editor @theNaMoPatrika, convenor @BSKS_India [Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena] and @ModiFyingIndia, ex-National Executive Member, BJP youth’. In October 2011, he barged into lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan’s chambers with another person and attacked him. Bhushan has publicly supported a referendum in Kashmir to determine if the local population wants the army to maintain internal security. An FIR was filed against Bagga, but it was never followed up.
— Excerpted from I am a Troll: Inside the Secret World of the BJP’s Digital Army
On March 14, the BJP announced a new spokesperson for its Delhi state unit — Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga. In my investigative book I am a Troll, I had outed Bagga as one of the trolls who was followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Bagga, who says he is ‘blessed to be followed by PM Modi’, will now represent what senior BJP leader L.K. Advani had once described as a ‘party with a difference’ with a new ‘chal, charitra, chehra’ (‘way, character, face’).
The Indian Express reported on his appointment with the headline, ‘Twitter timeline cleared, Bagga now says not a troll’, and began by listing the allegations of assault, trolling and disrupting public events against him.
Earlier in the day, senior advocate Prashant Bhushan had quoted my tweet and said, ‘No surprises that BJP appoints lumpen thugs like Bagga as their spokesman. Can’t expect better from Shah/Modi who have promoted thugs all over.’
In 2011, after the attack on Bhushan, Bagga had tweeted, ‘He try to break my nation, I try to break his head (sic).’ That tweet has now been deleted from his timeline.
The Express report added, ‘Despite frequently making news over his aggressive tweets on Twitter, Bagga said he is not a troll. “You say I am a troll. When people write things about their leanings, I simply ask questions.”’
While Bagga’s Twitter timeline appears to have been cleaned of any controversial statements he tweeted, the list of allegations against him is long. In May 2011, Bagga and three others were arrested for disrupting an event to launch Arundhati Roy’s book. Bagga is also alleged to have defaced walls around the Pakistan High Commission and heckled Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani at an event. He also allegedly tweeted that tennis player Sania Mirza should play for Pakistan after she married Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik, wrote the Express.
Further, BJP member Dr Jwala Gurunath, who is also followed by PM Modi, levelled charges of sexual harassment against Bagga, for which he was arrested. Dr Jwala has repeatedly asked Modi and BJP President Amit Shah to act against Bagga in tweets tagging them.
— Dr Jwala Gurunath (@DrJwalaG) March 15, 2017
Bagga in his previous role was known to be a publicity junkie and would frequently call channels to cover the events he was disrupting.
Among those who congratulated the new spokesperson was BJP-nominated MP and former journalist Swapan Dasgupta.
A senior BJP leader told me it was ‘scary that we are picking such people as our interface with the media and the country.’ However, Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari defended his appointment and said, ‘I did not know of these allegations.’
Despite the list of allegations of misdeeds against him, Bagga continues to be followed by Prime Minister Modi, and has now been made an official spokesperson. It clearly pays to be a troll followed by Modi, it seems.
Read Swati Chaturvedi’s I am a Troll: Inside the Secret World of BJP’s Digital Army here: https://goo.gl/Rh0VR5