“After I quit, ‘she duped the congress of 8 crores & ran away’ was planted in the news esp Kannada channels in an attempt to destroy my credibility. I didn’t run away. I resigned for personal reasons. I certainly did not dupe the party of 8 crores. My mistake was staying silent.” With this tweet on Thursday, former social media head of the Congress and actor Divya Spandana ‘Ramya’, who had disappeared from the political scene as fast as she had risen, was back in the headlines.
It all started with Spandana’s reaction to Congress state chief D K Shivakumar’s statement that Karnataka Higher Education Minister C N Ashwathnarayan had met Congress leader M B Patil, “seeking protection” from being questioned on public platforms in the Police Sub-Inspector recruitment scam.
A day later, Spandana issued a tweet criticising Shivakumar, saying: “People across parties meet each other, go to functions, some even get married into families — I’m surprised @DKShivakumar would say this about @MBPatil who’s a staunch congressman. Shouldn’t the party be fighting elections as one unit?@INCIndia.”
— Divya Spandana/Ramya (@divyaspandana) May 11, 2022
Spandana says that in the wake of that tweet, she has been trolled and abused. Sharing some of the images, she said, “So the ‘office’ has circulated these messages among the congress leaders & volunteers asking them to troll me. Save yourself the trouble — I’ll do it myself.”
She described ‘office’ as the Karnataka Congress under the leadership of Shivakumar. And tweeted: “Humble request to @kcvenugopalmp (K C Venugopal, AICC general secretary) to please clarify with the media about this whenever you’re in Karnataka next. The least you can do for me Venugopal ji, so I don’t have to live with this abuse and trolling for the rest of my life.”
Several messages to her, shared by her, talked about her sudden disappearance as the Congress social media head. One read, “Where have you been all these years??? Why are you waking up now? Can you plz let the voters of Mandya know??”
Another said, “You got into the party because of senior leaders in the party. You have no loyalty to the party or voters. Can you go back to the absconding state that you were in or delete you (your) accounts. I’m sure you have enough experience in this.”
An actress, Spandana had started her political career in 2012 through the Youth Congress. In 2013, she won the Mandya Lok Sabha seat in a by-election. She lost in the Modi wave of the 2014 general elections.
What brought her to spotlight was the Congress making her the head of its digital team at the national level, a job she took to with gusto, breathing wit and repartee into the party’s largely staid account. She was seen to have Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s blessing.
That stint of Spandana ended suddenly. After another spectacular loss of the Congress in the 2019 Lok Sabha general election, she deactivated all her social media accounts and announced a “break” from politics. She claimed that the decision had been taken before the results.
Lately, she has not been active either in politics or Congress activities, though she is often seen on social media.
A source in the Congress said more than anything else, Spandana’s tweet reflected the bitterly divided camps within Congress. “It is out in the public domain that Shivakumar and Ashwathnarayan are not just political rivals but beyond. There are sympathisers in the Congress for Ashwathnarayan and for Shivakumar in the BJP,” the source said.