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MP CM’s new officer on special duty backs out after ‘anti-Modi’ tweets create controversy

Communication strategist Tushar Panchal was made OSD on Monday


Less than 24 hours after he was appointed as the officer on special duty (OSD) to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, communication and political strategist Tushar Panchal backed out of the responsibility after a huge controversy erupted over his old and current tweets that have been perceived as as ‘anti-Modi’ and anti-ruling dispensation at Centre.

Panchal, who has been looking after the social media handles of CM Chouhan since 2015 and also managed the 2018 assembly poll campaign for him, tweeted to express his ‘inability’ to take up the responsibility on Tuesday afternoon.

“I have decided to not accept the responsibility offered to me by CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and have communicated my inability to the CM,” he tweeted.

Panchal’s appointment as OSD had come on Monday evening, and he had announced the same on Twitter.

However, immediately after his appointment on Monday, Congress had attacked Panchal and the chief minister, quoting the former’s tweets that are seen as ‘anti-Modi’. On Tuesday morning, BJP leaders, including Delhi BJP spokesperson Tajinder Singh Bagga, also quoted some tweets of Panchal that are being seen as against the stand of ruling dispensation.

The quoted tweets of Panchal are seen to be targeting Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Baba Ramdev, and the the Union government over its handling of COVID-19 crisis. Bagga, while quoting tweets of Panchal, tagged Chouhan to ask “do you need people like him."

In Bhopal, home minister and government spokesperson Narottam Mishra evaded direct reply to questions on Tuesday, and said he will talk to the CM on the issue.

The MP Congress went on to tweet a series of old and recent tweets of Panchal to attack Chouhan on the issue. “Shivraj starts a war against Modi – appoints a strong anti-Modi (person) as OSD. Shivraj has appointed a person who has been ridiculing Modi, trying to cut him to size and making rude comments against the ideologies of BJP, as his OSD. After Yogi, Shivraj will weaken the Modi rule,” MP Congress tweeted from its official handle.

As the issue raged through the day, Panchal came up with the tweet announcing that he was unable to take up the new responsibility, thus seeking to end the controversy.

Whether Panchal, the founder and chief executive of WarRoom Strategies – a specialist communication consultancy as per his bio  – will continue to handle Chouhan’s social media accounts remains to be seen. Panchal’s organisation had led an aggressive campaign against the 16-month-old Kamal Nath-led Congress government. He played a major role in personal publicity of Chouhan, including the Jandarshan Yatra before the 2018 polls.

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