I Don’t Know the Definition of Trolling: An Interview With the Delhi BJP’s New Spokesperson Tajinder Pal Bagga

20 March 2017
Tajinder Pal Bagga was appointed as a spokesperson for the Delhi unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party on 14 March 2017.
Tajinder Pal Bagga was appointed as a spokesperson for the Delhi unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party on 14 March 2017.

On 14 March 2017, the Delhi unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) appointed Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga as a spokesperson. Bagga enjoys a significant following on social media—he has over 2 lakh followers on Twitter, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He was also one of nearly 150 social-media users who were invited for a closed-door interaction with the prime minister at his residence, in 2015. Bagga describes himself on Twitter as a “#SwayamSewak,” and is well-known for vehemently criticising those who oppose the ruling party.

In October 2011, Bagga allegedly attacked the lawyer Prashant Bhushan at his chambers at the Supreme Court of India for his comments pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir. An organisation named Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena—a now-defunct group founded by Bagga—claimed responsibility for the attack. Several news reportsnamed Bagga as one of the attackers. Following the assault, Bagga reportedly tweeted: “He try to break my Nation, i try to break his head. Hisab chukta [score settled]. Congrats to all. Operation Prashant Bhushan successful.” A trial on the case is underway. Earlier that year, Bagga was one of a group of people that disrupted the launch of the writer Arundhati Roy’s book The Broken Republic. In 2012, he participated in protests against the separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, when the latter visited Delhi. A report published in the Indian Express on 16 March 2017 quoted Bagga as saying that in 2012, the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi invited him to help him run an online campaign called “Modi-fying India.” The report also noted that his Twitter timeline had been cleared of tweets such as those referring to Bhushan.

On 16 March 2017, Kedar Nagarajan, a web reporter with The Caravan, met Bagga at the BJP’s Delhi office on Pandit Pant Marg. They discussed his new appointment, his social-media influence and the allegations against him of violence and online abuse.

Kedar Nagarajan is a web reporter at The Caravan.

Keywords: violence Bharatiya Janata Party Free Speech