A day as @narendramodi

By Vijaya Pushkarna

Many Indians are waiting for March 8. Not because it is International Women’s Day, but to see if Prime Minister Narendra Modi  will actually give up his social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and  YouTube. 

He had tweeted on March 2 that he was “thinking of” doing that on Sunday, and mentioned he would keep his followers posted. Even before his next post on the subject, the world of social media was ablaze with why the Prime Minister who enjoys 53.4 million followers, would do that!

According to  www.brandwatch.com, Prime Minister Modi has the 18th largest number of followers on Twitter,  even Shakira of the “Hips Don’t Lie” number trails behind. Most of the top 20 are Hollywood ,show world celebs, there are a few chat show hosts, a sports star, and three political leaders.Modi trails behind the US President Donald Trump and the former US President, Barack Obama who tops the list!

The Prime Minister’s tweet that he was thinking of giving up his social media handles got him a reply from 1300 people, while 39500 “liked” the tweet – it could be read as approved his decision.

Modi is not the man who will reveal his thoughts or actions , and generally  tends to shock or stun the nation . Remember the demonetization of 8th Nov 2016? Or the way he plopped Yogi Adityanath on the UP chief minister’s chair? So the tweet that he was “thinking of giving up” was not a typlical Modi behavior.

But in no time at all, thousands of people  reacted to @narendramodi's tweet, and shared their views on the Prime Minister’s tweet, in their social media platforms. For instance, @srivatsayb responded, “PM, it’s your fans and party men that encourage genocide by spreading lies on their social media accounts. Please ask all of them also to give up. At least then, we won’t go to stage 9 and  India can once again hope to become a peaceful progressive country” Some suspected an Indian version of twitter was being launched, and he would move on to that. And there was also the curiosity about which capitalist was going to do that! There were some who felt may be the Prime Minister was averse to the kind of replies he was getting in these communally tense times, and so was opting out.

But  when he tweeted the next day, over a lakh twitterati  heartily approved of what he said.The Prime Minister's “thinking" changed to his thinking aloud. And the “giving up” became “give away”.

“This Women’s Day, I will give away my social media accounts to women whose life and work inspires us. This  will help ignite motivation in millions. Are you such a woman or do you know such inspiriting women? Share such stories using #SheInspiresUs”.

But the devil as they say, lies in the detail. Here, the catch was in the  attachment by way of a poster spelling out the details : he was going to “give away” his social media handles to select women for one day – the International Women’s Day. It is not clear yet how many “applicants” the PMO has received ,to be able to use @narendramodi for a day.It will be interesting to watch the women centric roles and ideas Modi will promote this Women’s Day.

In his tweet of Thursday evening, the PM  could be seen nudging women to play this game with him. 

“Inspiring women entrepreneurs.
Nari Shakti securing India
Women excelling in sports and leadership.
Women farmers showing the way.
Been getting many motivating stories on exceptional women achievers.
Do keep sharing more such life journeys!#SheInspiresUs “

Modi has  broken news many times through his twitter account ,wherein he reaches out in Hindi and English, on practically everything he wants to. However, he has not responded on that forum, to issues people want him to talk about. The Prime Minister's handle is doubtless precious, but his government is not really happy with Twitter as well as other social media platforms which they feel “have become tools to propagate hate and spread inflammatory messages”.

Twitter, according to a news report, has been “singled out for lower and slower compliance” with government guidelines. The report said the Delhi Police Commissioner referred to “specific riot-related tweets circulated on Feb 23 and 24 that led to rumor mongering”. Twitter, the report said, was sternly warned, and asked to reduce the time taken to comply with government requests and to more proactively enforce the law on their platforms.

But all this notwithstanding, it has to be granted to the Prime Minister's team that this will be the most innovative use of the social media handle by any leader. Whoever gets to use @narendramodi on March 8, will definitely feel like one who got to wear the crown of the Queen of England in the past for one day.The sun , it was said, never set over  the empire. The one day never ended !

On the morning of March 9, when he gets back his twitter handle,  the Prime Minister however may find he has “liked” many tweets, replies and retweets. Women are both, emotional and encouraging. So the lady who is @narendramodi on Sunday would likely “like”—something Modi’s sparrow has never done! The question is, will she be free to "like"? On International Women’s Day?



  1. Interesting piece Vijaya. Would like to read about the fallout after March 8!


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