Politicians amuse with gaffes on social media . . . . reports Sidhartha Dutta
Political leaders find instant social networking sites a convenient platform to instantly propagate their views or share their thoughts. But their over-enthusiasm often leads to gaffes that often acquire a life of their own, embarrassing them and their parties.
Very recently, some ministers in the Narendra Modi government made a fool of themselves by tweeting ‘good wishes’ on Good Friday – a day that marks the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The distinguished group included Suresh Prabhu, Najma Heptulla, Dharmendra Pradhan and Mahesh Sharma. As Prabhu and Sharma tweeted “Happy Good Friday”, Heptulla and Pradhan tweeted “warm greetings”.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Shahnawaz Hussain also followed with “warm greetings”.
Only after the prime minister tweeted “Good Friday is a day of prayer and a day to remember the noble, pious and compassionate thoughts of Jesus Christ”, the ministers realised the gaffe.
They immediately deleted their tweets. A few posted posted revised ones. Prabhu’s new tweet read: “Today we commemorate the passion, suffering, death on the cross of the Jesus Christ. May this day of prayer enlighten our mind and bring peace.”
Sharma wrote: “I wish you all blessings of Good Friday as a dedication to the sacrifice of Lord Jesus Christ and to remember his noble and pious thoughts.”
The revised tweet of Heptulla was: “Good Friday a day for prayers and Jesus laid his life for mankind, and then he was resurrected.”
Pradhan chose to remain silent. Hussian retweeted PM’s tweet.
Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju’s Facebook post earlier this month about supposed links between French seer Nostradamus’ prediction 450 years ago and Modi’s rule went viral on the social media.
Rijiju wrote that the much-quoted author of prophecies had predicted that between 2014 and 2026, “a man will lead India, whom initially, people will hate but after that people will love him so much that he will be engaged in changing the country’s plight and direction”.
His post added: “This was predicted in 1555. A middle aged superpower administrator will bring golden age not only in India but on the entire world. Under his leadership India will not only just become the Global Master, but many countries will also come into the shelter of India.”
Rijiju’s post also had a picture of Modi with German chancellor Angela Merkel along with others. Rijiju also talked about how the 2014 Lok Sabha election seat share of “BJP (2+8+3), NDA (3+3+7), UPA (5+8) and others (1+4+8)” added up to the prophetic number ’13’. The minister had got the numbers horribly wrong.
The BJP won 282 seats, not 283. NDA bagged 336, not 337, UPA got 60 and others got 147. The Facebook post was later removed.
Tech-savvy Modi often greets his counterparts and other important personalities on their birthdays on Twitter.
In one tweet, he erroneously wished Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani three months in advance.
“Happy birthday ashrafghani. Praying for your long life and exceptional health and a joyful journey ahead,” Modi said on February 12.
Ghani, making light of the situation, replied: “Greetings from Munich, Mr. PM. Although, my birthday is on 19th May, I’d still like to thank you for your gracious words:)”
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee too committed a faux pas as she did not seem to remember that the legendary Ghazal singer Jagjit Singh had passed away in 2011.
“Birthday greetings to Jagjit Singh, Zakir Hussain, Md Azharuddin. And if it is also your birthday today, let me wish you too,” Banerjee posted last month.
Realizing the error, she deleted the tweet and replaced it with: “Birthday greetings Zakir Hussain, Md Azharuddin. Birthday remembrance Jagjit Singh. And if it is also your birthday today, let me wish u too.”
Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu slipped while praising the longest serving Bishop in India, Philipose Mar Chrysostom.
“At age 98, he still inspires with his ‘diabolical’ methods of sermons. His life and message denote many meaning in life….” Naidu wrote.
Among the dictionary meanings of diabolical is “characteristic of the devil, or so evil as to recall the devil”. The tweet was deleted. Naidu later said he was honoured to received the Bishop at his residence.