Coronavirus outbreak: Modi bashers supporters take swipe at each other over Janata curfew

Updated: Mar 21, 2020, 17:36 IST | Hemal Ashar | Mumbai

PM's call for janata curfew sees Modi-bashers and supporters take swipes at each other

Critics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi have called his address a PR stunt. Pic /PTI
Critics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi have called his address a PR stunt. Pic /PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for a janata curfew and a siren salute to our medicos and bravehearts on the frontline of the Coronavirus fight has touched a chord. Minutes after the PM's address 'support the curfew' messages flooded social media. People have also pledged to stand at their windows applauding or beating a rhythm on 'thalis' as a tribute to warriors in the virus war.

Bashing Modi

Modi-bashers, ready to pummel the BJP and the prime minister into dust are bristling.

Even before this address, a tweet by Rahul Gandhi criticising the BJP government on its response on the crisis had evinced a retaliatory tweet telling Rahul Gandhi to 'check the numbers in his native country Italy'. It then advised Rahul Gandhi 'to smoke a better quality weed'. Ouch. Ravi Bhilane, activist and usual Modi critic claimed, "This is some stuntbaazi. People are already awake to the threat of this virus and we are tackling it with some responsibility.

"What was the need of this now? This may create some kind of panic. I think it smacks of a marketing gimmick."

One WhatsApp message ridiculing the PM was, "After notebandi comes ghar bandi." Another read: "You've got to hand it to the guy. He even knows how to market a curfew."

Aam Aadmi Party's national joint secretary Ruben Mascarenhas cited Kerala's Rs 20,000-crore stimulus package to address the economic slowdown caused by the virus.

Bash him more

"We should have heard about more testing, efforts to disinfect, precautions, instead of this taali bajao and ghanti bajao. While distancing is important, this seems like a Public Relations (PR) exercise. Some PM advisers have seen viral tweets about Spain and Italy and decided it could be emulated here."

Mathew Antony, NEC member of All India Congress Committee (AICC) social media joined in saying, "Recently, Brazilians had come on to their balconies beating pots and pans and flickering home lights to protest against their President and his lax response to Coronavirus. Now, Modi seems to have turned that around and told the nation we will applaud in this way for those working against the virus."

Can't digest it

For many, the PM's address has touched a chord, but for those for whom Modi is anathema, "They cannot stomach the: we-are-with-you-Modi response it has got," said BJP spokesperson Niranjan Shetty, adding, "Large-scale awareness about sanitation started when Modi pushed the Swachhata mantra. Look at the eight lakh-plus toilets built. Even the WHO has praised Modi's efforts, the criticism stems from the mindset of an opposition that is unable to do what he can."

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