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Did BJP force Snapdeal to remove Aamir Khan as brand ambassador?

Sadhavi Khosla, a former member of the BJP's IT cell, has made the claim in a new book by journalist Swati Chaturvedi.

Our Correspondent

Aamir Khan is currently enjoying the success of his latest outing, Dangal. But the situation for him a year ago was very different. The actor was facing a rough patch following his comments on ‘rising intolerance’ in the country. The result was constant online abuse for months from ruling party supporters and his removal as ambassador of India Tourism and the e-commerce company, Snapdeal.

In a book, I Am A Troll, author Swati Chaturvedi claims the abuse towards Khan and his removal as brand ambassador of the online shopping company were planned moves. In the book, Sadhavi Khosla, a former member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) information technology (IT) wing, told the author that they were ordered to put pressure on Snapdeal through social media so that the company would dump Khan as its brand ambassador. 

Khosla revealed that she was delighted when the BJP’s social media team offered her KPO (knowledge process outsourcing) company to run the party’s social media campaign during the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. However, she claims that her joy was shortlived as she was asked by the party’s IT cell head, Arvind Gupta, that their “goal was to attack and expose the UPA government and the Gandhi family. Volunteers were told to attack certain mainstream journalists.”

Khosla is also quoted in the book as saying, “It was a never-ending drip feed of hate and bigotry against the minorities, the Gandhi family, journalists on the hit list, liberals, anyone perceived as anti-Modi.” 

While speaking to a publication, Gupta, however, rubbished all such claims saying he hadn’t been monitoring the social media activities since July 2015. He also labelled Khosla a Congress supporter.