A row erupted on Tuesday over the Prime Minister's Office moving to a new Twitter handle with all its contents just days before Narendra Modi takes charge, inviting an angry reaction from the Bharatiya Janata Party which termed the move "illegal and disgraceful".
The PMO Twitter handle was changed from @PMOIndia to @PMOIndiaArchive, automatically transferring its content and 1.24 million followers to the new account. Also an independent Twitter handle @PMOIndia appeared after the PMO relinquished it.
The BJP said the orginial Twitter handle was a "national digital asset" and did not belong to Manmohan Singh and that it should have been handed over to the new dispensation as it was.
"All our official communications are being archived according to the RTI Act. Copyrights and control remain with the office. This is an office account and the office continues to manage it," Communication Adviser to the outgoing PM Manmohan Singh Pankaj Pachauri said on the move.
The BJP, which is set to assume power, strongly objected to the PMO's move.
"The Twitter account @PMOIndia is a national digital asset. It is disgraceful, unethical and illegal in the way the outgoing team handling the @PMOIndia Twitter account has conducted the transition of this national digital asset.
"The Twitter handle of @PMOIndia must become available to the new incoming government. @PMO is not a personal asset, it is a national asset," party spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi told reporters.
Pachauri, however, said that they have done this to "facilitate" the handover of communication to the new administration.
Lekhi said the handle belonged to the PMO and not Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and should have been passed over to the new dispensation.
Attacking the government, she said it is damaging its reputation even during the dying hours of its tenure.