PM Modi follows Delhi CM Kejriwal — What the Twitter bonhomie means for the world

by Abimanyu Nagarajan

I first became aware of 'The Following' while in a cab on my way home from work on Thursday. At around 7:30 pm, I felt the very fabric of reality warp and buckle a bit, followed by a soft cry of denial. I didn't pay much attention to it, as this usually happens whenever my wife compliments my cooking.

What really made me realise something major had happened was when I saw the Emperor of Cats and the Prince of Dogs (with their relevant diplomatic attache) meeting outside my apartment signing an armistice.

“We are in agreement then,” said the Fat Cat. “We shall henceforth observe a ceasefire until the heat death of the universe.” To this, the Great Dane simply (but sagaciously) replied, “And so it shall be.”

My first reaction was, “Holy crap! Cats and dogs can talk!” And then I realised that I had witnessed something truly momentous: cats and dogs had signed a peace treaty!

Now, I knew something earth-shattering had happened. I rushed up to my apartment to first steady my nerves with a cup of coffee, but my phone had already started pinging.

Narendra Modi was following Arvind Kejriwal on Twitter.

My mind went numb trying to digest this piece of news. Narendra Modi was following Arvind Kejriwal on Twitter! It finally explained the bizarre things I felt and saw on my way home (thankfully, it wasn’t my cooking).

My first course of action was, of course, to go online and look at the comments section of all the news websites. I wasn’t disappointed, nor surprised. People were panicking. Indian politics is highly divisive, and people back parties on a purely ideological basis. The rift between Kejri-walas and Modi-ites is especially deep.

PM Modi follows Delhi CM Kejriwal — What the Twitter bonhomie means for the world

Arvind Kejriwal and Narendra Modi. File photo. Image courtesy: PIB

In the run up to 'The Following', Kejriwal was especially aggressive, stalking Modi on Twitter. His opponents felt he was running an anti-Modi social media campaign, but in hindsight, he was clearly just trying to reach out in his own unique way, the old softie.

Modi, for his part, avoided getting embroiled in an e-war, preferring to maintain a stoic silence no matter what Kejriwal flung his way. His supporters believed Modi was too wise to embroil himself in digital name calling, while his opponents felt that he lacked the necessary wit to engage in one.

So when the Prime Minister started following Delhi's chief minister on Twitter, followers from both camps were flabbergasted. Kejriwal followers initially took this to be a sign of weakness, saying that Modi was essentially kneeling down to their polit-god. Modi followers, on the other hand, scoffed at this notion and insisted that their mighty leader was simply being magnanimous, and mocked Kejriwal for being so thrilled that the very man he called a psychopath and coward was willing to befriend him.

But after the initial shock wore off, people started asking one pertinent question: if they can get along, why can’t we?

From diligent research done by sitting on a chair and googling the phrase, I can safely say this was first posted on some obscure political blog in some forgotten nook of the web. But the question gained momentum, and by morning, it had spread to every corner of the Internet.

If they can get along, why can’t we?

Everyone on Facebook was posting it. It was being tweeted and retweeted by millions of people worldwide every hour.

If they can get along, why can’t we?

The “big” break” happened when world leaders started reacting to it. The first to do so was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who retweeted Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal. The floodgates had been torn asunder, and the world was swept up by euphoria.

If they can get along, why can’t we?

Donald Trump started following Hillary Clinton on Twitter. Barack Obama endorsed Kim-Jong Un on LinkedIn. Vladimir Putin befriended David Cameron on Facebook.

Peace broke out in the Middle East, Hindus and Muslims settled their beef over beef, Daesh disbanded, China adopted democracy, African warlords turned themselves in for war crimes. Ladies and gentlemen, we are on the cusp of global peace and establishing a state of utopia!

All because Narendra Modi started following Arvind Kejriwal on Twitter.

So please, my fellow humans. Let us mark 24 March, 2016, as 'The Following'. Let us forever remember the day when two bitter political rivals became BFFs on Twitter. For if two men can put aside their differences and connect through social media, then surely it means something, right? Right??

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Updated Date: Mar 25, 2016 17:06:15 IST

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