Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, have been camping around borders of the national capital since last week to protest against the central government’s three new farm laws. As protests grew larger, youth from Punjab decided to support the farmers and counter allegations against them through social media.
A 38-year-old Ludhiana IT professional Bhavjit Singh has started one such campaign which aims to gather support for Punjab farmers and to counter the narrative that Khalistanis are leading farmers’ agitation. On Thursday, its campaign on Twitter, with the hashtag #Tractor2Twitter, was among one of the top trends.
Many Twitter users, including Punjabi artistes, Congress leaders, official account of Aam Aadmi Party unit in Punjab, as well as Akali Dal leaders, used their hashtag while posting their tweets. The Twitter account that started this hashtag has garnered over 7,000 followers. The hashtag itself has generated over 20,000 potential impressions.
Bhavjit believes that he may have started the campaign, but it is people who have made it successful. Bhavjit started the campaign on 27 November on Facebook by asking Punjab’s youth to join Twitter and use the hashtag to amplify farmers’ issues. He says that his fight is on two fronts: First is with protesting farmers on the ground and second one is on social media to garner support for the farmers.
Singh has also been alleged of being supported by the Congress or the AAP but it only makes him feel proud. He says that he can only take these allegations positively when people say that they are fielded by the Congress. But those people do not understand that it has become an organic movement after its coneivement, it has been popularized by people.
He said that they have got calls from many non-BJP parties to help him manage the campaign. But they declined the help, as it is their unique selling point to be unexperienced and spreading awareness.
Social media cell of Congress has denied any involvement in the management of the campaign. Saral Patel, national convenor, Congress social media cell said that whenever there is a hashtag that’s trending, their ecosystem picks it up and starts mentioning those hashtags in their tweets as they stand by this issue.