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BJP leaders share article defending PM

Covid: Union ministers and senior BJP leaders share article defending PM

Column appeared in The Daily Guardian, a mostly unheard of e-paper published from India, pointing fingers at CMs and an international conspiracy to target Modi
Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi
File picture

Pheroze L. Vincent   |   Hosur   |   Published 12.05.21, 02:35 AM

If anyone has been wondering what Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been up to when the Covid second wave is brutalising India, the answer is blowing in countless data packets.

Several Union ministers and senior BJP leaders have been sharing a column titled “PM Modi has been working hard; don’t get trapped in the opposition’s barbs”.

The column appeared in The Daily Guardian, not to be confused with The Guardian newspaper of the UK that had the temerity to prophesy “future historians will judge Mr Modi harshly if he continues with the exceptionalist views that have led to a disastrous public health outcome”.

The Daily Guardian is an e-paper published from India. Most Indians may not have heard about the e-paper till now but the voracious readers in the Modi government took time off Covid crisis management to devour the column and publicise it with gusto.

Attributed to BJP media relations convener Sudesh Verma, the column points fingers at chief ministers and an international conspiracy to target Modi.

The propaganda bragging points include announcements of several All India Institutes of Medical Sciences by Prime Minister Modi. But six AIIMS had started courses in the second term of the Manmohan Singh government while none has been completed under the Modi regime yet.

The column adds: “But there is another side to this which is positive and not being reported because death is big news and recovery is not. More than 85 per cent of people recover without hospitalisation and it is only the 5 per cent or so which needs critical hospital care.” The global Covid fatality rate is a little over 2 per cent, and most people recover at home.

Stung by the bad press for the Prime Minister abroad, the constellation that seeks sustenance from Modi dutifully tweeted the column. Such was the tweeting frenzy that a journalist posted: “Union ministers seem to be working 18 hours a day on convincing us that the PM works 18 hours a day.”

The Daily Guardian belongs to ITV Network. Led by Kartikeya Sharma, the son of Haryana Jan Chetna Party leader Venod Sharma, the network owns a clutch of channels and The Sunday Guardian newspaper. The Daily Guardian started circulating in print in Delhi in February under the name The Sunday Guardian Daily Edition.

Senior ITV executive Meenakshi Singh tweeted: “Lots of hue and cry made on #TDG it is our newspaper (Good Morning India) ppl around are over reacting? The Guardian is printed from UK, The Daily Guardian is printed from India. We are proud of our News Paper and its articles. We bring the truth out.”

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor tweeted: “Control of narrative has always mattered more to this BJP Govt than substance. Daily Guardian & The Australia Today are little more than parody websites to spout BJP propaganda, disguised as international media. BJP reduced Indian media to a parody, but here the worm has turned!”

The Guardian of the UK and The Australian of Australia have been sharply critical of the Indian government’s handling of the pandemic. Publications like The Daily Guardian and the Indian-owned The Australia Today have chosen to attack reportage and criticism of the Covid catastrophe in India.

Fact checker Mohammed Zubair of Alt News tweeted a headline of The Washington Post newspaper — “Modi’s pandemic choice: Protect his image or protect India. HE CHOSE HIMSELF” — and added next to it the screenshots of ministers and BJP leaders tweeting Verma’s column.

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