"No Accident": Shashi Tharoor's 'Number 9' Theory On PM's Video Message

This was also Shashi Tharoor's second tweet in reply to the brief video message this morning "India's Photo-Op Prime Minister"

'No Accident': Shashi Tharoor's 'Number 9' Theory On PM's Video Message

Coronavirus: Shashi Tharoor took a swipe at PM Modi after his call for a 9 pm light show (File)

Highlights

  • Shashi Tharoor took a swipe at PM Modi
  • Mr Tharoor alluded to number quoted by PM
  • PM asked people to hold candles, lamps for 9 minutes at 9 pm
New Delhi:

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, hours after the PM urged people to switch off their lights and hold lit candles and lamps for 9 minutes at 9 pm on Sunday, in what he said would "challenge the darkness spread by the coronavirus crisis".

In his tweet Mr Tharoor, who is among several Congress leaders to have taken the government to task over its handling of the novel coronavirus outbreak, criticised the Prime Minister for resorting to "auspicious elements Hinduism associates with (the) number 9" and exclaimed: "#COVID19 must be more serious than we thought!"

"This is no accident: the PM spoke on Ram Navami at 9 am for 9 minutes, asked us to light diyas & candles on 5/4 at 9 pm for 9 minutes. He is invoking all the auspicious elements Hinduism associates with number 9. Back to Ram Bharose?! (trusting Lord Ram)," the Lok Sabha MP from Kerala wrote.

Almost immediately after he posted the tweet, Twitter users pointed out Ram Navami (a nine-day Hindu festival to celebrate Lord Ram's birth) ended Thursday and on Friday was Dashami (the tenth day).

This was also Mr Tharoor's second tweet in reply to "India's Photo-Op Prime Minister".

"Listened to the Pradhan Showman. Nothing about how to ease people's pain, their burdens, their financial anxieties. No vision of the future or sharing the issues he is weighing in deciding about the post-lockdown. Just a feel-good moment curated by India's Photo-Op Prime Minister!" he had said.

Hours earlier, in his second address to the nation since a 21-day nationwide "total lockdown" was ordered, PM Modi urged people to practice social distancing and stay at home to minimise the spread of the virus. He also called for the 9 pm show of lights, saying it would introduce the novel coronavirus to "the power of light".

The Prime Minister's video message drew immediate criticism and jibes, with Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra leading the way.

Ms Moitra, who has hit out at the government for failing to provide economic support for migrant workers and those most badly affected by the virus outbreak, tweeted: "Get real Mr Modi".

Congress leader and former union minister P Chidambaram, who had earlier offered cautious support of the lockdown, called for steps to boost growth and said "serious thought to ideas and measures" was as important as symbolism.

"Dear PM Narendra Modi, We will listen to you and light diyas on April 5. But, in return, please listen to us and to the wise counsel of epidemiologists and economists," he tweeted.

Bollywood actor Taapsee Pannu also commented in a short tweet full of sarcasm: "New task is here ! Yay yay yayy !!!"

Fifty-six people have died after being infected by the novel coronavirus, the Union Health Ministry said today, with six of those deaths being reported in a 24-hour period. Across the country the number of confirmed cases is now 2,301, with 336 new cases detected in the past 24 hours.

On Thursday the World Bank approved $1 billion in aid for India to help fight the coronavirus.