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Twitter war after India prime minister account reset Singh’s office defends its action

NEW DELHI, May 21, (AFP): A Twitter war erupted in India on Tuesday after the official prime minister handle was archived and its 1.24 million followers “transported” to the new account.

The team of departing premier Manmohan Singh reset the @PMOIndia account and renamed it @PMOIndiaArchive, angering the incoming Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government led by prime ministerdesignate Narendra Modi. “The Twitter account @PMOIndia is a national digital asset. It is disgraceful, unethical and illegal the way the outgoing team has handled this account,” BJP spokeswoman Meenakshi Lekhi told reporters in New Delhi.

The BJP said the old PMO account had 1.24 million followers, but they would now have to start from scratch because the account had been archived and followers “transported”, instead of being officially handed over. A new PMOIndia account on Twitter showed 4,411 followers.

This Twitter handle “is not a personal asset, it is a national asset,” the BJP’s Lekhi said. Another BJP spokeswoman, Nirmala Sitharaman, tweeted that @PMOIndia was an “institutional handle” which should have continued “seamlessly”. Stung by criticism, Singh’s office released a statement defending its action.

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