Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent remarks abroad on how people earlier used to think what sin they had committed to have been born in India and how this has now changed, sparked angry reaction from opposition parties on Tuesday besides triggering a storm of protest on social media.
Congress said it is “really pained” at the remarks made by Modi, calling it shameful while the JD(U) said it has “devalued” the stature of the prime minister and lowered the dignity of his office.
Modi’s remarks evoked a strong reaction from Twitterati, some of whom criticised the Prime Minister for “insulting” his own country. It triggered one of Twitter’s top trends, the hashtag #ModiInsultsIndia.Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah in a sarcastic response said it appeared there were no Indians who took pride in their country before 16 May, 2014– the day when BJP stormed to power unseating the UPA government.
“We are really pained over the remarks as no leader in independent India has ever made such a statement,” former Union Minister Kapil Sibal said at the AICC briefing, expressing shock and dismay.
“Why those who occupy the highest offices today become self-centric instead of country centric when they go abroad ?”, Ahmed Patel, Political Secretary to Congress President Sonia Gandhi said on Twitter.
Congress spokesperson, Sushmita Dev, was scathing. “PM is perceived as a good orator by many, but gradually his content is hitting rock bottom. Shameful statements being made overseas,” she tweeted.
Omar, the National Conference working president, while expressing surprise over the remarks said, “So it seems there were no Indians who took pride in their country before 16 May 2014. I was completely blind to this amazing fact.
“Or at least no Indians abroad who took pride in their country. I’m so glad you have since been temporarily rescued from your misery”.
“Born in England, choose to carry an Indian passport & no Mr PM I’ve never been embarrassed to show my passport anywhere, ever,” he said in another tweet.
Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar said Modi’s remarks were “despicable” while JD(U)’s Pavan Verma said it has lowered the dignity of the office of the prime minister.
BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi hit out at the Congress for being obsessed with “self-guilt”.
“The impression is being given as if the Prime Minister has given an official diplomatic statement regarding India’s past government or something like that, which is not true at all,” he said.
Addressing the Indian diaspora in Seoul, Modi said, “There was a time when people used to feel that what sin they committed in their past life which resulted in taking birth in India, is this what you call a country and a government, is this how the people are, let’s leave it and go somewhere else, and people did leave.
Now I can say it with firm belief that intelligent people from all walks of life, renowned scientists too, even if they are earning big abroad but now they are eager and happy to come back and settle India for even lesser incomes,” he said.
In Shanghai, Modi had said, “Indians were feeling pessimistic about their own country till recently but my government has tried its best during its first year in office to change that.”
Modi’s comments attracted strong response on Twitter.