External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is known for helping people from the Indian diaspora in distress abroad, especially for her quick responses to SOS posts on Twitter. However, on Sunday, one user’s Twitter request irked the usually calm minister.
A Pune-based techie, who goes by the handle @smitraj07, tweeted to Swaraj requesting a transfer of his wife, who works for the Railways Ministry, and is apparently posted in the Jhansi (Uttar Pradesh) railway division.
“@SushmaSwara Can u plz help us in ending our banwas in India? My wife is in Jhansi Rly employee and I work in Pune in IT. Been a year+ (sic),” he tweeted.
Swaraj, in a curt reply, said, “If you or your wife were from my Ministry and such a request for transfer was made on twitter, I would have sent a suspension order by now”.
If you or your wife were from my Ministry and such a request for transfer was made on twitter, I would have sent a suspension order by now. https://t.co/LImngQwFh6— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) January 8, 2017
She also tagged Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu to look into the IT professional’s request. However, Prabhu tweeted saying that he has nothing to do with the transfers and would forward the request to the railway board.
He chose to describe his situation as ‘banwas’ or exile, the same word Swaraj had used to respond to a man from the US trying to get his wife’s passport cleared.
The External Affairs ministry has recently launched a ‘Twitter Seva’ to enable timely, transparent and large-scale response to citizens’ tweets in real time.
Last year, the Foreign Minister's "Twitter diplomacy" was widely acknowledged and she was also named among 15 'Global Thinkers' of the year. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among the first to congratulate her.