Tajinder Pal S. Bagga is a popular figure on social media with a Twitter following of close to 2 lakh people. He has been in the limelight frequently for leading campaigns against several public figures for their alleged anti-national acts which earned him the infamous tag of being an online ‘troll’. Recently, his appointment as the official spokesperson of the BJP’s Delhi unit left many surprised. But there’s more to Bagga than meets the eye.
Here is an exclusive chat with him:
1) How did your association with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) begin?
I have been associated with the BJP for over a decade now. I became secretary at the block level, which is the elementary level of the party about 15 years ago. That was the beginning of my political journey, after that I became a part of the party at the district and later at the state levels. From the year 2002-2010, I was the executive secretary of the BJP youth wing, wherein I was the youngest member of the team.
2) Could you shed some light on your family and academic background?
I am from a middle-class family. I have a business of garments. While Congress was in power, there was a phase in Delhi when factories were being sealed off, our factories were also affected due to the disturbance. After that blow, I worked extremely hard to revive the business and thankfully, I have been successful in doing so.
Due to the disturbance, my education also got affected and I could not pursue a regular course. So, I went to an open university to pursue a graduation degree in Arts (BA).
3) Now that you’re an official spokesperson of the party, has it curtailed your social media freedom to tweet whatever you wish?
No, I don’t think so. I tweet exactly how I used to tweet before. But we strongly condemn abusive behaviour on social media, we convey to our supporters that they must not cross the line and be abusive on social media while supporting the party. And as everyone has the freedom of expression, we too should enjoy it.
There have been cases when people from other parties have been victimised on social media and I have vocally condemned that.
4) You have been labelled as a troll by many on social media. How do you respond to that?
There is a belief on the web that the right wingers are always trolls, but that is not the case because those supporting the party online are not always an official part of the party. For example, a person called Amrish Mishra belonging to the Congress had threatened to rape one of our volunteers; now we cannot say that Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi is responsible for it. Unfortunately, it is this trend on social media that if any right-wing supporter crosses the line, the whole organisation is always criticised. Our party specifically condemns abusive behaviour on social media. Even on Gurmehar Kaur’s case, she had the full right to say what she feels, just as we too have the right to condemn it but it shouldn’t be abusive.
I strongly feel that though we have the right to express, we must mind our tongues. The fight should be political and not personal.
5) How is the BJP’s social media different from other parties’?
We were the first ones to start campaigning on social media. In an interview given by PM Modi in 2002, you will see him asking his party workers to reach him on his email ID, this is at a time when e-mail was not very popular. I am on social media from 2005/2006. We had started our campaign from Orkut days back in 2007 when other parties didn’t even have their communities and pages online. We have been on social media for the past 12 years. During the Lok Sabha elections also, we started out with the social media campaign which was followed by AAP and finally, the Congress.
6) What is next on your agenda?
We are currently campaigning for the MCD elections in Delhi. And we are also letting the people know what we have contributed for so long and our future ventures. If you look at the political status of India, BJP has almost won in all the states, this is only possible because people believe in our leadership— Modiji and Amit Shah ji. We are also striving for a corruption-free and developed India.