Ignore trolls and troglodytes: Shashi Tharoor advises Rahul

New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi’s Twitter outreach has played a key role in changing perceptions about him, senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has said urging the party chief to maintain his “unique communication” with the people and to ignore “trolls and troglodytes”.
Tharoor, who was recently edged out by Gandhi as the most-followed Congress leader on Twitter, also said social media could prove to be a “game influencer” in 2019.
In an interview to news agency PTI, he said the Congress’s counter-narrative to the BJP on social media was “witty, eye-catching and trendsetting”.
“Even the BJP would do well to now try and take a leaf or two” out of the Congress’s book, the former Union minister said, while also stressing his party did not seek to define itself on social media in metrics comparable to the BJP.
Asked if the micro-blogging site played a key role in helping people get to know the Congress president and changing his image from a reluctant politician to a dedicated leader, the MP from Thiruvananthapuram said, “Yes, very much so.”
​“His enthusiasm on social media, his wit, energy and sense of humour are all on display. This is a man whose engagement on this platform speaks to a wider engagement with politics. There is no ‘reluctance’ on display here, only commitment and passion to make a better India,” the 62-year-old leader said.
But while Tharoor lauded Gandhi for being “sharp and incisive on social media”, he said the party chief was also “attentive and involved” with the concerns of the country and that had won him plaudits.
“I think it is his work on the ground that has really made him stand out of late and has carved this dynamic image of Rahul as a constructive and attentive statesman. Personally, as someone who urged him to join Twitter, I’m delighted by his popularity on this medium as well,” he said.
Gandhi recently notched up a following of 6.79 million as against Tharoor’s just over 6.69 million. However, he is still well behind Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has 42.3 million followers on Twitter.
Asked what he would advise Gandhi now after having urged him to join Twitter, Tharoor said he would ask him to ignore trolls – those who routinely and vitriolically abuse people with different views – and troglodytes, defined as cave-dwellers or someone being deliberately ignorant or old-fashioned.
“I would tell him to keep at it, continue to maintain this unique channel of communication with the people of the country and ignore the trolls and troglodytes along the way, since the positives vastly outweigh the negatives on this medium,” Tharoor said.