It seems Congress president Rahul Gandhi has found chinks in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s oratorial skills. Speaking about an interview Modi gave at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) on June 1, Gandhi tweeted that the PM’s interviews on public platforms were scripted. Calling Modi the first Indian PM who took “spontaneous” questions to which the translator had pre-scripted answers, Gandhi said it would be an “embarrassment” if he took “real” questions.
“The first Indian PM who takes ‘spontaneous’ questions that the translator has pre-scripted answers to! Good that he doesn’t take real questions. Would have been a real embarrassment to us all if he did,” Gandhi said on Twitter and tagged a video of the event in Singapore.
The first Indian PM who takes “spontaneous” questions that the translator has pre-scripted answers to!
Good that he doesn’t take real questions. Would have been a real embarrassment to us all if he did. pic.twitter.com/8Iyfgiaseh
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) June 4, 2018
Even though Modi’s oratorical flourishes and impromptu speeches have mostly impressed people, the incident in Singapore raised a few eyebrows. After the prime minister had responded to a question on challenges being faced by Asia, his English translator read out a passage from a paper that included facts and figures which were not part of Modi’s answer.
It appeared that, as part of the interview, Modi was supposed to say everything the translator read out from the piece of paper, but forgot to. This has fueled speculation that the queries posed to the PM were scripted.
Incidentally, during campaigning for the Karnataka assembly elections, Modi had dared Gandhi to deliver a speech for 15 minutes without a script on the Congress government’s achievements.
“I dare the Congress president to speak in Hindi, English or the mother tongue of his mother to deliver a speech in Karnataka for 15 minutes, without reading out from a piece of paper, on the achievements of the party government,” Modi had said.
On Sunday, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor had pointed out the gaffe in the prime minister’s speech and tagged a news report on the NTU interview.
“Oh dear. When the translator says what the PM was supposed to say, but didn’t,” he tweeted.