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Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut says BJP government wants to control, regulate social media

Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament (MP) Sanjay Raut, seen as a Bharatiya Janata Party-baiter on Sunday claimed the Central government plans to bring in a law to control and regulate the social media.

In the recent past, the BJP has had trouble with social media platforms, getting more shrill on their criticism of the Modi government.

The Sena leader said, “The social media helped the BJP win power in 2014. They [BJP] can’t try to control the social media if it is not working in their favour. The right to freedom of expression needs to prevail as we are a democratic and independent country.”

Raut indicated his party would oppose the law saying the Sena had opposed a similar attempt by the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government too.

The fresh development may also lead to public backlash against the BJP government.

The Supreme Court in March 2015 struck down section 66A of Information Technology Act that allowed action against “offensive comments”, terming it “unconstitutional”. The court found the section was being misused to arrest people posting comments critical of political leaders on social media platforms. The court had said such a law hit at the root of liberty and freedom of expression that are two fundamental pillars of democracy.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Saturday hit out at the police for targeting 40 youths, who criticised the BJP, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the PM. Pawar, who met the youngsters, said they were being trolled by right-wing netizens and declared his party would support the youth by providing them legal aid.

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