New Delhi: His Twitter profile picture shows him face-to-face with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. His Twitter banner image shows him bending before ex-PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
But there is more to 31-year-old Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga than his compulsive need be seen and get clicked with top leaders of the party. He has his own army of supporters. On Twitter alone, Bagga has more than 2 lakh followers.
Bagga, who has been recently appointed the BJP spokesperson for Delhi, has been regularly disrupting "anti-national" events single-handedly for years now. His outfit is accused of thrashing a prominent lawyer - broadcast through a TV channel live - for his remarks on Kashmir.
He's a man who frankly says he "won't allow it." And his actions have ensured he means it.
In a conversation with ScoopWhoop News, Bagga reflected on his new post, his controversial past and the many burdens of being a serial disruptor.
SW: You made headlines in the past for incidents involving violence. But that's long ago. Tell us about yourself.
TPSB: When I was 18, I started my politics from Mandal level - the grassroots. Then I came to district level, then Pradesh and finally I became youngest National Executive Member of BJP from 2007-2010.
I have done graduation in Arts from IGNOU, but my political consciousness came from my father, an RSS member. I was four years old, when my father started taking me to an RSS Shakha. I still follow the routine.
SW: What has happened to the Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena you were affiliated to before joining BJP?
TPSB: Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena was a separate organization which we had established to do certain things which we couldn't do under BJP. BJP was in opposition that time.
I was on hunger strike for eight days after December 16 Damini gangrape case. I also led marches and protests against the incident.
SW:What were your demands?
TPSB: First, all the rapists should be hanged. Second, no body should be treated as a juvenile if he has committed a rape. If he's mature to rape someone, he's mature for punishment as well. We also demanded hanging for acid attackers.
SW: Does BSKS exist now?
TPSB: It doesn't exist anymore. We dissolved the outfit six months back.
SW: Where are the other members of BSKS these days?
TPSB: They are with me. We work together.
SW: There are many cases of violence and harassment against you and now you are the spokesperson of the India's ruling party? How do you explain this?
TPSB: But there's no proof. It has never been proven that I indulged in violence and harassment. In Prashant Bhushan's case, I was not present at the spot. The case is sub judice.
Since I was a part of the outfit that assaulted him and an FIR was registered, I surrendered before the police. They haven't been able to give a single proof against me in six years.
SW: But you posted a "operation Prashant Bhushan successful" celebratory tweet after the incident?
TPSB: The case is sub judice. I don't want to say more on that.
SW: And the tweet is no longer on your profile now?
TPSB: If I had to delete a particular tweet, I would have deleted only one tweet. All my previous tweets have been deleted because I deactivated my Twitter account some 7-8 months back.
Happy Holi ( File Pic 2007 ) pic.twitter.com/CM1z8X0Tna— Tajinder Pal S Bagga (@TajinderBagga) March 13, 2017
TPSB: (Laughs). I had some disagreement with the party. So, I told them I won't support you on Social Media.
SW: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has personally awarded you for your role on social media. Some have questioned that. What was your work exactly?
TPSB: In 2012 , we launched a campaign 'Modifying India'. It was an on ground campaign and we used social media to gather volunteers. Our first event was conducted at Constitution Club in April 2013. Online campaign was launched in December 2012.
SW: Modi was yet to be announced a Prime Ministerial candidate then?
TPSB: Yes. There was no word that time from the party that Modi will be PM candidate. Our first concert was 'Modi for PM Rock concert'.
SW: Was the campaign supported by BJP?
TPSB: No. It was an individual campaign. The 'Modifying India' included Modi T Shirts, Coffee Mugs, Modi Comics and all other stuff. I was leading it. We went to metro stations, campuses, chaiwallas, festivals etc during the campaign. Wherever we could find youth, we would go there.
Also, the opposition's target on Modi's governance in Gujarat. We had to counter that as well.
SW: Was it an all-India campaign?
TPSB: No, it was in North India only like Delhi, Haryana, UP and some parts of Bihar and Mumbai.
SW: Who's the most social media savvy BJP leader?
TPSB: No leader is more tech and social media savvy than Modiji. There's a 2001 interview of Modiji in which he says if any party worker has an issue, he/she should send him an email. Very few people knew about internet and email those days.
And then Facebook and Twitter because whatever opposition used to say media reported that. There was a particular lens through which media viewed Modi. So, there was only social media to connect with the people. I met Modiji first in Gujarat at his home in 2013. The meeting was related to campaign.
Many leaders from right-wing came to Social Media only because Modiji was there, particularly on Twitter.
SW: You have a picture with almost every top BJP leader on your Social Media profile? What kind of interactions do you hold with these leaders?
TPSB: There are many policies and schemes of government which the public is unaware of. Our main agenda in every meeting with a Union minister is how can be those things brought to public.
SW: What would say was your best work on social media?
TPSB: Many things. At the time of dengue outbreak in Delhi, we established a 24/7 blood bank helpline and distributed posters in every government hospital. Whenever we received a call for blood, we would put it on social media and ask people to donate.
We also raised two lakh rupees for an award-winning shooter from Gujarat who was unable to purchase a shooting gun because her father had lost his job. When Pakistani Hindus migrated to India, we also helped them with bedding, books, blackboards etc. All of this money was raised through crowdfunding on social media.
SW: You also went to NDTV office to protest against prominent Hindi news anchor Ravish Kumar. Would you do something like that now?
TPSB: I want to expose the hypocrisy. You have every right to speak against government or Modiji. No one is god, even Modiji is not a god. But if you do things which can hurt the country and then instead of apologizing you give another spin to the issue. That's wrong.
What NDTV did, shouldn't happen again.
SW: Many accuse BJP supporters of abusive language and trolling on social media? Are you aware of that?
TPSB: As a party, BJP doesn't endorse abusive language on social media. But if an individual Twitter user has written BJP under his bio what can party do in that case? These kinds of people are everywhere and party has no control over them.
SW: Dissent is the essence of democracy. In your view, why are there so many fights on matters like Kashmir, Bastar, freedom of speech and beef ban in universities? Should there be a border line when it comes to subjects that are debatable?
TPSB: We are not against dissent.One can discuss anything which is allowed under the law. Our stand is clear: you can criticize the government or its policy. If something is lacking in Kashmir, you can also demand that. But if you are saying Kashmir is not part of India and it should be given to Pakistan. This we won't allow.
SW: But many say Kashmir wants independence and neither India nor Pakistan?
TPSB: That too is not allowed under our constitution. There is no scope for debate on Kashmir. We won't allow that at any cost.
Every year, 50 events on Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) are held at JNU. Nobody is protesting against that. Our stand is army should have final word on AFSPA because they are on the ground. No leader should decide and even we don't have any say.
SW: But then why was there violence at Ramjas college?
TPSB: Because they were having a debate on Kashmir and raising slogans in favour of Azadi. They had invited a person who's accused of sedition.
SW: But the Ramjas event was on Bastar?
TPSB: Sir, the agenda was Kashmir. If the event was on Bastar why did they raise slogans in favour of Kashmir?
SW: Has it been proven that students raised slogans about Kashmir? Why hasn't police arrested anyone yet?
TPSB: FIR has been registered. The issue is with the court. Police can't act without the court order.
In JNU sedition case too, the students were given bail because their studies would have suffered. However, the court took a strong note of their actions saying it was like a "gangrene."
SW: You are only 31. What is it that you hope to achieve in the BJP?
TPSB: Whatever responsibility party gives me, I will take that. I have no aspiration. My hero is Modiji. He says: aap karam karo, party khud aap ke baare mai soche gi.
SW: MCD Polls in Delhi are not far. Tell us about the responsibilities under your new role? Are you campaigning? What do you tell people while on the campaign trail?
TPSB: We are highlighting the failures of Aam Aadmi Party government. AAP's performance in 2.5 years is zero. Also, we will tell people about the accomplishments of MCD under BJP.
As a spokesperson, I have to stay in office to respond to media queries. We have decided all of our 272 candidates in MCD polls will be fresh faces and this time we are giving tickets to youngsters. 50 per cent of tickets will go to women.
SW: Can we say with with your new position as BJP Spokesperson, a new Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga has been born?
TPSB: I started my journey when I was 18. Ideologically, what I used to say before, I'll continue to say it in future too. I have a different role now.
Feature image source: ScoopWhoo/Safwat Zargar