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Don Quixote Modi, shades of Walter Mitty: Our PM’s never short on surprises

His Meghnad-style warfare from behind the clouds was part of a scripted interview

Agency Report | New Delhi | 13 May, 2019 | 11:30 PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's interview to News Nation may have already caused enough embarrassment to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters, but the fact-checking website Alt News now suggests the PM had prior knowledge of questions to be asked.

Alt News Co-founder Pratik Sinha created a thread on Twitter that suggested that the interview was scripted.

“PM Modi is asked to recite a recent poetry of his in the @NewsNationTV intvw. He asks for HIS file, which is duly handed over, and he starts fiddling with a bunch of papers. The paper on which there’s a printed copy of a poetry also has a printed question on the top,” Sinha posted on Twitter.

The post was accompanied by an image that showed part of that question — I want to know from poet Narendra Modi if he’s written anything in the past five years? — as well as the poem.

“The part of question that is visible in the papers held by PM @narendramodi matches word-to-word to the question asked by the anchor Deepak Chaurasia,” Sinha said.

He also posted a “slowed down” version of the video (sans audio) in which the Prime Minister flips through the papers present in his file.

Sinha’s “thread” was retweeted thousands of times as people found new fodder for fun in the interview, which earlier drew a lot of criticism for what is now commonly referred to as Modi’s “cloud theory” on the Balakot air strike.

Modi was trolled on Twitter for his remarks that he had asked the Air Force to carry out Balakot air strike on February 26 in bad weather as his “raw wisdom” said a cloud blanket would help the Indian fighter planes escape Pakistani radars.

The prime Minister also came under attack for claims of using digital camera, email in 1987-88.

“An interview clouded by radar claims, email claims, digital photography claims. Now this — evidence that the interviewee already had the questions given to him,” former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted.
After being trolled for his “cloud theory” on the Balakot air strike, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday came under attack from politicians as well as twitterites for his claims that used digital camera and email in 1987-88 to send a photo to his mentor and party veteran L.K. Advani in a timeliness manner.

In response to a query during his interview with the News Nation television channel, the Prime Minister said: “Perhaps I was the first one to use a digital camera in 1987-88 and at the time, very few people had email. There was a rally of Advaniji in Viramgam (Gujarat) and I clicked a picture of him on my digital camera…I had it that time. Then I transmitted the photo to Delhi and it was published in colour the next day. Advaniji was surprised that how his colour photo got published.”

This unnoticed part of his interview went on viral on social media with twitterites mocking the Prime Minister for his claims while the politicians used them to take a swipe at Modi.

The first digital camera, the social media users pointed out, was sold by Nikon in 1987 and commercial emails were introduced in 1990-95.

AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi tweeted: “@PMOIndia ke paas batwa nahi tha (kyunki paise nahi the!) lekin 1988 mein digital camera aur email tha? (The Prime Minister had no wallet as didn’t have money, but he had a digital camera and email in 1988).”

“All of this would be really funny if it weren’t so embarrassing. A PM who’ll literally say ANYTHING that comes to his mind can’t possibly be trusted with our national security,” Owaisi added.

Congress MP Rajeev Satav said the Prime Minister has claimed to use digital camera and email services even before their advent in India.

“After failing to deliver good governance, Modi ji has also failed with his research and is trying hard to bluff the people,” Satav tweeted, adding that Modiji was justifying the famous quote “Old habits, die hard”.

Taking a swipe at the Prime Minister, Congress’ social media and digital communications head Divya Spandana tweeted: “Any guesses as to what @narendramodi email id was in 1988? dud@lol.com is my guess.”

Jumping into the fray, Communist Party of India-Marxist MP and politburo member Mohammad Salim said that he missed the “gem” from Modi’s “clouded” interview.

“Modi claims that he had a digital camera in 1987-88 and an email account in 1988. He even sent a colour photo as an email attachment within India in 1988!” he said.

Ashok Swain, a professor of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University in Sweden, tweeted: “Modi and his ‘bhakts’ keep saying that there was no India before Modiji became the PM in 2014. How on earth Modi had got a personal email account in India in 1988 when Rajiv Gandhi was PM? Even in Swedish Universities, we got our personal email accounts in 1993 only.”

Rupa Subramanya, a Mumbai-based economist and co-author of Indianomix: Making Sense of Modern India, tweeted: “Even in the developed West (US, Canada), it would have been highly unusual for an average person to be sending an email as early as in 1988. My first email was in 1996. But we know Modi is not your average person… ??”

“In 1988, even in the developed West, email was available to a few academics and scientists but Modi somehow used it in 1988 in India before it was officially introduced to the rest of us in 1995,” she said in another tweet.

The attack on the Prime Minister came a day after he was trolled for his claim that he had ordered the air strike in Balakot in February this year despite cloudy and rainy weather conditions.

“Experts were re-thinking the air strike due to bad weather, but I said, so much cloud cover and rains could be beneficial. Maybe we could escape their radar. This was my raw wisdom, I said there could be a benefit. Ultimately I said, there’s cloud cover, please go ahead,” he told News Nation in the interview aired on Saturday. (IANS)