A For­eign Hand

India Today - - UPFRONT -

Vi­jay Sam­pla, the min­is­ter of state for so­cial jus­tice and em­pow­er­ment, is, by the stan­dards of too many In­dian politi­cians, a mod­est Twit­ter pres­ence. But when he in­voked PM Naren­dra Modi’s nona­ge­nar­ian mother, Heer­aben, in a re­cent tweet, he ex­pe­ri­enced the thrills and spills of vi­ral­ity. Sam­pla posted a pic­ture of Modi’s mother board­ing an auto to cast her vote in the 2014 gen­eral elec­tion. He con­trasted it with Rahul Gandhi, whose mother, Sam­pla tweeted, “is the World’s 4th Wealth­i­est Politi­cian!” Leav­ing aside the fake news about So­nia Gandhi’s net worth, Sam­pla’s point was opaque. In any case, every­one was dis­tracted by a hand, un­at­tached to a body, help­ing Heer­aben into the auto. Pho­to­shop, the Twit­terati cried. How em­bar­rass­ing. Ex­cept it wasn’t. Sam­pla didn’t tam­per with the im­age. He was just guilty of BJP-is­sue fawn­ing. And that re­ally is em­bar­rass­ing.

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