A war of words broke out between the BJP and Congress leaders after a news agency report suggested that "bots" or "web robots" that can produce automated mass retweets were behind Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi's rising popularity on Twitter.
Irani, in a sarcastic manner, tweeted: "Perhaps @OfficeOfRG planning to sweep polls in Russia, Indonesia & Kazakhstan?? I want to thank them for their cooperation on many fronts" tweet and caption "Modi ji quick; looks like President Trump needs another hug" has been retweeted more than 30,000 times so far. He said what is important is the issues Rahul Gandhi has been highlighting through his tweets. Activist Tehseen Poonawalla pointed out how among those who retweeted Modi's tweets also included an escort agency.
Smriti's junior, Rajyavardhan Rathore, tweeted: "In sports, this would come under "Doping". hey wait??"
Head of the Congress's social media team Divyaspandana said, "Story is factually wrong".
BJP ministers scrambled on Saturday to link Rahul Gandhi's increased popularity on social media to fake Twitter accounts in Russia, Kazakhstan and Indonesia.
Just hours after the report was published, Rajeev Chandrashekhar, a BJP MP, suggested that the Congress was taking "desperate measures". "Can understand your eagerness to please the I&B ministry and the Bots Janata Party", Divya tweeted. Responding to Irani's tweet, that bots could have pushed Rahul's tweets, Spandana wrote, "Why do we need them when we have you?"
ANI credited the "resurgence" of Rahul Gandhi on social media to a news report claiming that the Congress had roped in Big Data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica for a more targeted digital campaign to woo voters. When asked about Rahul's twitter growth AAP had earlier raised questions whether the retweets or real and it appears they were not.
Amit Malviya, the in-charge of the BJP's national information technology cell, launched an all-out attack on Rahul.