Today, an opinion piece focused on India’s Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, was published in the Times of India. Written by Non Resident Indian columnist of Wall Street Journal Sadanand Dhume, the piece focused on how Sushma Swaraj’s tenure as the MEA, was “largely forgettable”.
Minister Sushma Swaraj took note of the highly critical piece, and responded in her own style. She Tweeted the article from her social media account, with a simple message: “Let Indian taxpayers respond”. The tweet was then pinned to the top of her profile, ensuring that no one would miss it:
— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) January 13, 2018
While the minister took the bull by its horns, the specific charges in the article were rebutted and torn to shreds, point by point, on social media. R Sriram, Associate Editor, Economic Times, chose to take to twitter to poke holes into Dhume’s commentary. In a thread, he demolished arguments made by Dhume, and by the end had managed to make Dhume’s article seem like a half-baked desperate attempt to attack Swaraj.
In his article, Dhume had bracketed former MEA Jaswant Singh as a great foreign minister, unlike Swaraj. R Sriram analysed this argument:
At one point in the article, Dhume had labelled Pakistan’s former Foreign Minister Sahabzada Yaqub Khan as “the greatest South Asian foreign minister”. R Sriram responded to this as well:
Dhume’s next argument was particularly amusing. Over the years, Sushma Swaraj has bailed out so many social media users who have approached her for help using twitter. But Dhume has a problem with her Twitter exploits as well.
Besides the above detailed take-down, many other social media users found glaring flaws in Dhume’s piece:
Obscure, one sided, lacking research. Maybe this chap was sleeping when @SushmaSwaraj along with @Gen_VKSingh kept a tight grasp on #OperationRahat or successfully negotiated release of Father Tom https://t.co/bXf1WXDczN
— Arijit Banarji☕ (@ArijitBanarji) January 13, 2018
— Sniper (@avarakai) January 13, 2018
Dhume you don’t seem to live in this world. I have seen many a foreign minister in independent India . She is the best, proactive, humane FM we ever had. The stories are many. The stories are many. She acts and keeps speeches to the minimum.
— dilip m. kurien (@dilipmatthan) January 13, 2018
If getting passports within 48 hours of application and still seeing a scope for simplification of Passport issue procedure is mediocre….So be it. We the tax payers are happy with EAM
— Hiten Parikh (@ParikhHiten) January 13, 2018
You only mention Jaswant, @dhume. What’s your take on @SushmaSwaraj’s “erudite” UPA predecessors? What sterling work did they do? She’s working in tandem with @PMOIndia. More than can be said of previous EAMs. And who’s your candidate? ? https://t.co/HOIeHB5Etw
— Reshmi Dasgupta (@ReshmiDG) January 13, 2018
Talk about being disconnected. We hope Dhume takes the criticism from social media users as well the Minister took criticism from him.