Days after Rahul Gandhi asked the Congress in Gujarat to respect the dignity of the office of the Prime Minister and stop its ‘vikas gando thayo chhe’ (development has gone crazy) social media campaign, a Twitter handle linked to the Indian Youth Congress posted a crude meme on Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday. Under fire, the Youth Congress apologised and the meme was removed after Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and the BJP hit out at the Congress, leaving red faces in the party.
The meme, posted on the official Twitter handle of the Youth Congress online magazine Yuva Desh, was a photograph of Modi, US President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May in conversation.
It showed Modi telling the two leaders about the Opposition’s memes targeting him — “Aap logon ne dekha vipaksh mere kaise kaise maimai banvata hai?” Trump corrects him, saying the word is pronounced as ‘meem’ — “usse maimai nahin, meem kehte hain”. May tells Modi to sell tea — “Tu chai bech”.
In a tweet, Rupani questioned Rahul Gandhi: “This blatantly classist and anti-poor Tweet by the Youth Congress shows their mindset towards India’s poor. Does Crown Prince @OfficeOfRG support this?”
The tweet was deleted after the Congress went into damage control. Its communication department head Randeep Surjewala said: “INC (Indian National Congress) strongly disapproves and rejects such humour through memes. Differences on policy and opinion aside, Congress culture imbibes respect for PM and all political opponents.”
The IYC said the Twitter handle was not official one and was run by volunteers. “Although the handle @Yuvadesh is being run by youth volunteers and not by @iyc ,we do not approve of such humour and apologise. Despite political differences with the BJP and having suffered everyday abuse from their leaders, we respect the Prime Minister and all political opponents,” Youth Congress president Amarinder Singh Raja Brar tweeted. The BJP slammed the tweet, saying it reflected the “arrogance” of the Congress.
Union Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, in a tweet, said: “The arrogance of the Congress Party and shameful anti-poor stand gets exposed from the official twitter of the Youth Congress that a person born in poverty in the family of a tea vendor cannot become the Prime Minister. No lessons learnt. Insulting popular mandate. Madam Sonia Gandhi and Mr Rahul Gandhi do u still believe that only u have a divine right to rule India? Country expects ur response on the tweet of the youth Congress, which is shameful & insulting to poor. U can delete the Tweet but ur thinking towards the poor stands exposed.” Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said: “Upcoming elections will be another reality check for them.”
Coming as it does in the run-up to the Gujarat assembly elections, the tweet echoes what Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar had said during the 2014 Lok Sabha election: “Narendra Modi will never become the Prime Minister of the country. But if he wants to distribute tea here, we will find a place for him.”