Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Kerala today for the launch of two projects, there was much trolling on Twitter. What amused his critics, mainly supporters of the state's ruling Left government, was the prime minister's "long" journey for the opening of the 13 km Kollam bypass.
Malayalam writer NS Madhavan tweeted: "My respect for Smriti Irani suddenly goes up. At least she got a CT Scan machine to inaugurate. Look at Modi, travelling 3500 kms all the way to Kollam, to open a 2-line, 13km bypass! #PavanayiModiAyi""
The criticism gave rise to hashtags like #PavanayiModiAyi and #OduModiKandamVazhi. #PavanayiModiAyi refers to a Mohanlal-starrer in which a gangster, Pavanayi, was hired to kill the main protagonist but was killed instead.
#OduModiKandamVazhi is inspired by a phrase colloquially used to ask someone to "get lost".
A twitter user named Khushboo Singh tweeted, "What should we call Modi for coming to inaugurate a Bypass in Kerala??
Kerala-based journalist Anil Philip wrote that the 13.141 km long bypass on the national highway was first proposed 47 years back, land was acquired 40 years back and the work started 28 years back. Now everybody wanted credit for a bypass "the width of this national bypass is just the length of a standard saree", he commented.
But there were also counters.
One of the biggest flyover bypass to avoid traffic jam to Thiruvanandapuram to Kollam will be inaugurated by PM Modi in this evening. https://t.co/y6jLSKdRL8- rajeevdamodharan (@rajeevdamodaran) January 15, 2019
#AyyanteNattilModi- Gaurav Mohnot (@mohnotgaurav18) January 15, 2019
(Modi in the land of Ayyappa)
PM Sri @narendramodi Visiting Kerala this evening to inaugurate Kollam bypass and will be addressing huge gathering of karyakartas at Cantonment Ground, Kollam.
PM Modi's BJP didn't take the trolling lightly. "This shows CPM's intolerance. Prime Minister is here to inaugurate two development projects and also to address a political rally. The first two are part of his duty. The latter is his right. Trolling a Prime Minister for his work only shows the shallowness of his opponents," the BJP's Rajya Sabha member V Muraleedharan told NDTV.
PM Modi's visit would also involve several developmental projects worth over Rs 70 crores at Padmanabha Swamy temple. The money, BJP claims, was released by the centre.
PM Modi also commented on delayed projects as he addressed a public meeting: "I was surprised to see that some projects are delayed by 20 to 30 years. It is a crime to deprive the common man of the benefits of a project for such a long time."
He added that "the culture of wasting public money cannot continue".
The prime minister's visit, months before the national election due by May, drew even more attention because it was the first since the Sabarimala temple row erupted in Kerala.