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In the recent theatrics of Indian politics, Arvind Kejriwal called out on Modi by tweeting that the Prime Minister made his 96-year-old mother stand in a queue in Gandhinagar to take out Rs 4,500 from the bank. The Chief Minister labeled it a political ploy, saying when the country was plummeting into a financial breakdown, the PM pulled out the ‘family card’ the moment he began receiving negative media attention. It was a strategic attempt by Modi, Kejriwal insinuated, to slip in an emotionally-charged element in the political drama, to convey to the common people that like them, Modi’s own mother, Heeraben Modi, had queued up with humility. That she, regardless of being the Prime Minister’s mother, was refusing to accept special privileges.
His tweet received considerable backlash, where people reminded Kejriwal that he too had been responsible of playing the family card in the past as well when he’d offered to “swear” on his children. In Kejriwal’s defense, AAP leader Ashish Khetan told India Today that Modi’s mother’s visit to the bank was used as an “emotional spin to the pain and suffering the country [was] going through.”
Modi’s mother, however, has been known for being an independent woman. When Modi became the Prime Minister in 2014, Heeraben was offered a Special Protection Group cover, which she apparently declined. In similar vein, she stepped out to visit the bank as an ordinary citizen, without an entourage of SPG officers.
In the quagmire of politics, there are far greater concerns that should be raised and introduced to mainstream conversations, questions of greater significance should be voiced on social media by a Chief Minister, rather than scrutinising the ulterior motive of an old lady queuing up to change her money. Overall, Kejriwal’s strategy seems to be constant combat. Most of his arguments against Modi’s step to “clean up black money” have been in the form of personal jibes on Modi and BJP. In times like these, as a Chief Minister of Delhi, it might be more productive to offer solutions and ways of mitigating the problem.