A tweet from Prime Minister Narendra Modi at 11.23 am on Wednesday led to a guessing game in which theories grew wilder with every passing minute. PM Modi's address, when it finally aired on national television and radio, took place exactly an hour after his tweet, which had announced an earlier time.
"I would be addressing the nation at around 11:45 AM - 12.00 noon with an important message. Do watch the address on television, radio or social media," PM Modi tweeted, and the media across the country was on high alert.
मेरे प्यारे देशवासियों,— Chowkidar Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 27, 2019
आज सवेरे लगभग 11.45 - 12.00 बजे मैं एक महत्वपूर्ण संदेश लेकर आप के बीच आऊँगा।
I would be addressing the nation at around 11:45 AM - 12.00 noon with an important message.
Do watch the address on television, radio or social media.
The news that NoMo was to address the nation on TV set off a minor panic among those who recalled the last time. Many honest people ran to ATMs to withdraw money & many dishonest people ran to banks to deposit cash. Pity those who, at month's end, had 0 to deposit or withdraw!— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) March 27, 2019
It is unprecedented for a Prime Minister to address the nation in the middle of an election campaign. Speculation flew like missiles on Twitter, embellished by hashtags like #PMAddresstoNation and #JustSaying.
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah joked: "He's declaring the results of the Lok Sabha elections. #JustSaying"
He's declaring the results of the Lok Sabha elections. #JustSaying— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) March 27, 2019
Trains have stopped. Birds are silent. Air is still... the wait is on for #PMAddresstoNation !!— Girin Govind (@GirinGovind) March 27, 2019
As TV channels quickly prepped studio guests and discussions, and discussed the possibility that the announcement was linked to something important like the economy or national security, a parallel thread on Twitter was far more irreverent.
Some wondered whether another demonetization bombshell was coming.
India is hooked to media— Chowkidaar Truth Prevails (@Anurag4Bharat) March 27, 2019
Congress at the election commission office ready to complain
Pappu ready with a press conference
Kejri ready with abusive tweets
Imran Khan making calls at terror camps ????????????
As theories circulated, PM Modi's address was delayed by nearly an hour. That too, inspired memes.
So was it demonetisation or another strike? PM Modi answered the question as he finally appeared on TV screens, announcing a huge success for India's space programme. He announced that India had joined a super league of space powers by shooting down a live satellite. India is the fourth country to have tested an anti-satellite weapon after the US, Russia and China, he said.
Twitterverse sighed in mock relief.
Was it a big bang or anti-climax? The conversation continues on Twitter.