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Divider-in-chief ‘tribute’ goes viral

The May 20, 2019, cover of Time international editions feature the Modi cover story with the provocative headline

By Vijay Deo Jha in Ranchi
  • Published 12.05.19, 12:03 AM
  • Updated 12.05.19, 12:03 AM
  • a min read
Sahu’s tribute (Screengrab)

State BJP on Saturday was red-faced over a goof-up that caused much hilarity on social media.

Thinking it was praise of the highest order, senior BJP functionary Umesh Ranjan Sahu posted the cover of Time, the eminent American magazine, which dubbed Prime Minister Narendra Modi “India’s divider-in-chief”.

The magazine’s May 20, 2019 international editions — Europe, Middle East and Africa, Asia and South Pacific — feature the Modi cover story with the provocative headline.

Sahu, in-charge of the BJP’s South Chhotanagpur division, decided to congratulate Modi for the “foreign honour”. Late on Friday night, Sahu put up on his Facebook a poster with the Time magazine cover, Sahu’s own picture and a message, “Modi hai to namumkin mumkin hai. America ki vishwa prasiddha magazine Time ne Modi ko divider-in-chief ki upadhi se sammanit kiya. Is samman ke liye samast deshvasiyon ki or se manniya pradhanmantri Shri Narendra Modiji ko anant subhkamnayen (With Modi, nothing is impossible. America’s globally influential magazine Time has bequeathed upon Modi the epithet of divider-in-chief. For this honour, countless congratulations to the PM from the people of the country).”

The post stayed on Sahu’s Facebook for around 30 minutes before trolls started laughing. Senior party leaders hastily called Sahu up to order him to delete the post.

But, as they say, it’s almost impossible to erase virtual footprints. By the time Sahu deleted the post, its screenshot had gone viral on various sites.

By Saturday morning, senior BJP functionaries, including CM Raghubar Das, were livid. “He (Sahu) is a dedicated worker of the party. But what he did was idiotic. He neither saw the magazine nor read the story. I doubt he knows English. He thought Modiji has been given an award of divider-in-chief,” said a leader.

Another said, “Our leaders told party workers not to post anything without understanding and verifying content.”

An apologetic Sahu blamed his graphic designer. “I had told my designer to make a poster for me on the positive highlights about our PM in this magazine. He did something else. I had given him my ID and password. The moment I came to know about this (goof-up) I deleted the post.”