NEW DELHI, Feb 9: The late president Pranab Mukherjee’s daughter Sharmishtha Mukherjee, a former Congress leader, in a letter to the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday flagged “vicious and continuous trolling” by his supporters following the release of her new book and comments last week about his ability to lead the party into the Lok Sabha election.
In a two-page letter posted on X, Ms Mukherjee said she had been subject to trolling, “sometimes using the nastiest language,” and identified one social media user in particular – “Naveen Shahi, having a X handle of @Naveen_Kr_Shahi, who is followed by several senior Congress leaders…”
Shahi, she wrote, “abused my father, Pranab Mukherjee and me in such vile language I feel nausea even to repeat it.” She said he also posted barbaric remarks of a sexual nature aimed at her father.
“Utterly shocked, I brought it to the notice of Jairam Ramesh, Supriya Shrinate, and even you by tagging all of you (on X). However, at the time of writing this letter, I neither got any reaction nor any action seems to have been taken against the person,” Ms Mukherjee wrote.
“You are talking about nyaya (a reference to Mr Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Nyaya Yatra’). As an ordinary citizen of India, I demand nyaya from you as these vile abuses seem to have originated with someone having a formal, or informal, association with your organisation. I demand nyaya as a woman, and whose father, has been subject (to) the most vile abuses having sexual connotations.”
“To show you are serious about nyaya, please take action against this person, Naveen Shahi, (and) all the others who reacted positively to his abuses, against your social media head, and your communication head, for allowing this kind of language and abuse,” Ms Mukherjee appealed. “Show that your promise of nyaya is not just an empty election slogan.”
Ms Mukherjee, over the course of the day, made multiple posts on X with screen shots of comments by Shahi and others, in posts that also tagged Ms Shrinate, who is the Congress’ National Spokesperson. “Enough of this! Jairam Ramesh sir, does this answer your ques(tion) (to) me… why I’m questioning current ‘ideology’ or functioning of Congress? Mr Rahul Gandhi – these (are your) followers! Salute to you for dragging down the Grand Old Party of India to this level. Shame!” read one furious post.
“”Muhabbat ki dukandar’ ka ek namuna – Congress ki Vichardhara! Only thing Congress is left with is a bunch of illiterate uncouth trolls who get a pat in (the) back from their masters for abusing its own leaders. Supriya Shrinate, (you should) promote (this) guy. He truly reflects (your) culture,” Ms Mukherjee said in another, in each case reposting tweets by Shahi that have now been deleted.
“As Rahul Gandhi seems (to be) talking about #Nyaya, I demand nyaya from him (for) character-assassinating me and my father in his name. Even if this person claims (to be) an ‘ordinary supporter’, I demand Rahul (should) lodge a police complain against this person as it is being done in his name.”
Neither the Congress nor Rahul Gandhi or the other two leaders tagged by Ms Mukherjee have commented so far. The account mentioned by her was created in 2013. It does not have either Mr Gandhi, Mr Ramesh, or Ms Shrinate, or any Congress handle, as a ‘follower.’
Ms Mukherjee began her letter by saying she had, earlier this month, commented on the Congress’ chances in the Lok Sabha election due in a few weeks. Speaking at the Jaipur Literature Festival, she said her former party had suffered “disastrous loss(es) in (the past two) Lok Sabha elections.”
“Since then, all hell has broken loose because, in your followers’ mind, you and your family are synonymous with the Congress, without realising the Congress was, and is, far greater than any individual or family,” Ms Mukherjee said in her letter.