PM Narendra Modi
PM Narendra Modi

New Delhi: PM Modi, who has taken to social media as a duck takes to water, on Sunday went on Twitter to inform the country about his plan to go offline.

He did not elaborate on the reason behind his sudden change of mind.

Then, in the same breath, the prime minister added to his mystique by indicating that he is still "thinking" about it and is yet to take a final call on the matter.

Twitter went into a frenzy with many wondering whether the ‘Digital Detox’ gimmick was intended to divert attention from the Delhi Violence.

Whether it was yet another episode in the series that we have witnessed thus far -- Good Governance Day, Yoga Day and now the ‘Digital Detox’ Day!

It was a seemingly innocuous a tweet which PM Modi had put out: "This Sunday, thinking of giving up my social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & YouTube. Will keep you all posted."

Interestingly, PM Modi has not held a single press conference since assuming office in 2014; instead, he takes pride in communicating directly with his supporters via social media.

His posts rustle up thousands of 'likes' within minutes, even though he has been criticised sometimes for skirting prickly subjects such as the recent violence in Delhi which elicited his first response after three days.

Soon after the PM dropped the nugget, Opposition leaders' reactions started pouring in. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was one of the first to comment and said, "Give up hatred, not social media accounts.

"Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala had a request, too. ‘‘Earnestly wish you would give this advice to the concerted army of trolls, who abuse-intimidate-badger-threaten others every second in you name!

He was soon followed by colleague Alka Lamba who called the move a "big relief". ‘‘Foreign leaders will miss your congratulatory messages in different languages," she tweeted, dripping with sarcasm.

The prime minister is one of the most trailed world leaders on social media with 53.3 million followers on Twitter, 44 million on Facebook and 35.2 million on Instagram.

Trump, who visited India last week, had gloated in the fact that PM Modi is "number two" on Facebook in terms of followers and that he is number one.

There was no dearth of humorous tweets; seldom has PM Modi’s announcement been greeted with such mirth. ‘‘Are you going to become a hermit and live in a cave? Give up the prime ministership before you go. Thanks,’’ said one.

‘‘Swacch Bharat of Twitter. Hope IT Cell will follow Dear Leader,’’ said another. ‘‘Please ask your ‘bhakts’ to do the same,’’ was the general sentiment.

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Free Press Journal

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