“Launched Be Santa-campaign, as Ambassador for @927BIGFM – to collect gifts from people -for poor children, to bring smiles to their faces during this Christmas. Drop ur gifts at nearest @927BIGFM & Feel the joy – as best way to multiply your happiness is by sharing it with others” Little did Amruta Fadnavis know when she tweeted her support for the BeSanta initiative, that she would become a target of trolling by right-wing Hindutva activists. The BeSanta social initiative launched by the radio channel Big FM BIG FM aims at spreading joy among the underprivileged kids during Christmas by inviting donations in the form of gifts. To launch this campaign, the channel got on board Amruta Fadnavis, the social-activist and wife of Devendra Fadnavis, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra.

Right-wing supporters did not take kindly to the wife of the Chief Minister promoting a charity linked to Christmas. A simple charity drive was perceived as a threat to Hindus by drawing reference to conversions by the Church. A tweet by Shefali Vaidya, a columnist for right-wing online publication, Swarajya about “harvesting souls in Maharashtra” had over 1.6K retweets.

Another popular right-wing handle wanted to know if she and her husband had converted to Christianity and proceeded to name the couple David and Amanda Farnandes.

Amruta Fadnavis tried to explain her position saying love, sharing & empathy have no religion and that she is a proud Hindu who celebrates every festival and this represents the true spirit of India.

Being the wife of a BJP Chief Minister, Fadnavis was spared abuse but multiple right-wing handles decided to chastise her about her actions and educate her about the plans of the Church for conversions.
Others accused her of spreading Christianity.

Yet others turned it into a personal attack on her. Many took this as an opportunity to criticize her husband.

The trolling continued for long and was vicious. The following handles are followed by PM Modi on Twitter.

A similar outrage had broken out against Fadnavis in October when she attended the National Prayer Breakfast in the US. In her speech on the “Power of Love” at that global event, she had spoken about the vast culture and rich heritage of India and how happily Indians celebrate festivals of different religions with same enthusiasm. The ugly trolling over promoting a FM channel’s charity drive for underprivileged children shows that the India that she spoke about is changing. It is changing fast under threat from the divisive forces that draw support from none other than the political party that her husband owes allegiance to.

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