The Congress party is reeling under the heat of its recent loss of face in the Lok Sabha election after it was reduced to a mere 52 seats in the Parliament, as opposed to rival Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) mammoth 303.
Many review meetings, including that of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), have been held since then to dwell on the poll drubbing and delve deep into the reasons for the party's debacle.
In what may be an effect of the result, one of the party's most visible faces and its social media and communications in-charge, Divya Spandana, quit Twitter on Sunday. In a context where the Congress is struggling to match the BJP's social media presence, this comes as bad news for the grand old party.
Speculations are rife about the possible reasons for Spandana's exit from social media. She has reportedly also exited the party's internal WhatsApp groups — PTI quoted sources to state that Spandana has taken the decision as a part of her break from politics.
Earlier as well, in October 2018, Spandana had gone off Twitter for some time, leading to rumours of her possible rift with the party. She had received criticism for her aggressive anti-Modi stance. However, the party's national spokesperson Randeep Surjewala had then denied reports of Spandana being expelled from the party and later, the former Congress MP re-joined the micro-blogging site putting an end to all speculations.
Spandana was also in the news when a member of the Congress' IT cell, Chirag Patnaik, was accused of sexual harassment during India's #MeToo movement and she had come to his rescue calling the allegations 'baseless'.
Interestingly, just after Spandana's exit from Twitter, Patnaik — who is still associated with the party — also quit the platform. As per reports, Patnaik was arrested in Delhi last week for allegedly sexually harassing a former colleague.
As per India Today's report, a former employee with the team had accused Patnaik of violating her personal space and indulging in "immoral behaviour". In her police complaint, the survivor alleged that Patnaik — a senior office-bearer had made indecent advances at her between 4 April to 23 May 2018. A case was registered under Section 354-A and 509 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) after the survivor said that she feared that she might lose her job due to Patnaik's strong influence within the party.
In fact, she had also accused Spandana of being 'arrogant' and not acting on her complaint.
Spandana had called the allegations "false and without any basis" and even tweeted regarding the matter, stating that an internal complaints committee had been set up to probe the same.
Some reports suggested that Sapnadan's no-show on Twitter might be on account of Congress' official ban on its spokespersons or members participating in television debates for a month. According to another report for The Indian Express, while some of her colleagues had said that she had indicated that she will be around only till 19 May, party leaders claimed that she is very much around and is in touch with her department, working on its immediate and future strategy.
Spandana's exit from social media comes close on the heels of Priyanka Chaturvedi, a prominent spokesperson for the Congress, leaving the party and joining the Shiv Sena. Chaturvedi had alleged disrespect towards her with regards to her complaints about unruly behaviour by some members and their re-inclusion in the party after their initial expulsion following her complaint.
Apart from Chaturvedi, senior party leader Tom Vadakkan had also quit Congress to join the BJP ahead of the general election.
Updated Date: Jun 03, 2019 19:25:09 IST