Ahmedabad: Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch leader Jignesh Mevani, the independent MLA from Vadgam, has reported a 300% increase in his Twitter following since the recent assembly polls. His official handle, @jigneshmevani80, which had 21,000 followers on the day he filed his nominations, now has 69,236 followers.  He also has more than 1.63 lakh followers on Facebook. In addition, the lawyer turned activist follows Chief Minister Vijay Rupani as the second most mentioned politician in Gujarat, according to a list released by Twitter India.

The increase in Twitter followers comes not long after Mevani was trolled for suggesting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should retire to the Himalayas. Mevani had responded to the hashtag #jigneshinsultsPM by highlighting Modi’s 2014 election promise to tackle unemployment among the youth—a promise Mevani says the prime minister has failed to follow through on.

Mevani rose to prominence in the aftermath of the attack on four Dalits by self-styled gau rakshaks (cow vigilantes) on suspicion of killing a cow at Una in Gir-Somnath district in July 2016. The victims of the attack said they were skinning the carcass and had not killed the animal. The protests that followed, in Saurashtra as well as other parts of the state, catalyzed his movement for Dalit rights in Gujarat.

Since winning the election, Mevani has used social media to stay connected with his followers, with regular updates regarding meetings and rallies. He also used social media to raise funds for his election campaign using the slogan ‘Janta ki Ladai, Janta ke Paiso se’.

Hitesh Chavda tweets at @HiteshChavdaNad. Did you like this story? Then follow us on Facebook and Twitter.