Social media has a field day over Modi’s Somalia remarks

Thiruvananthapuram, May 12 (IANS) Social media, including Twitter and fast-flying WhatsApp messaging service, has been flooded by upset Malayalis attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi after he compared Kerala with Somalia during an election rally.

Ironically, it is this very social media that came out in good numbers to prop up Modi ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls even in Kerala.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said that the state government is considering to take up the issue legally with the Election Commission, as the statement was made at an election rally by Modi.

For the second day in succession, social media has been flooded with comments slamming Modi under the hashtag ‘Po Mone Modi’ which takes its origin from a hugely popular film dialogue of superstar Mohanlal, where he says dismissively ‘Po Mone Dinesha’ (you go man Dinesh).

Social media users have added pictures and cartoons to embellish their comments.

One of the most popular pictures is of the entire family of Malayalam superstar Suresh Gopi standing with Modi, just before Gopi took oath as a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha and it comes with a statement – ‘A Somalian family standing with Modi’. The BJP nominated Gopi to the Rajya Sabha seat.

Another popular troll on social media is a new map of India which names Kerala as Somalia, while the other states also have been renamed as USA, Europe and some of the African countries.

Another popular Twitter post shows state BJP president Kummanem Rajasekheran along with party colleague and Palakkad assembly constituency candidate, Sobha Surendran, who has placed former Indian pacer and BJP candidate for the Thiruvananthapuram assembly constituency S. Sreesanth on her lap. All three are dressed scantily with the caption ‘A new generation Somalian sight’.

A Christian priest who did not wish to be named told IANS that whatever gains the BJP had made in its election campaign appears to have flown out of the window due to the “damning remarks” of Modi.

“Just like how the late NTR (N.T. Rama Rao) took over Andhra Pradesh by speaking of Telugu pride in the ’80s, the self-esteem of any average Keralite has been hit and that’s the reason why social media has been flooded by attacks on Modi,” he said.

“Modi has hurt the pride of Keralites,” said the priest.

P.C. Shaji, a businessman and a fan of Modi, told IANS that he is disappointed at the turn of events.

“The biggest attraction of Modi is his oratorical skills, and even in a state like Kerala, where Hindi is not that popular, he was walking into the hearts of people through his forceful statements. But in this aspect he has caused damage. I’m sure in every state of our country, none would like their pride to be pricked; and that has happened here,” said Shaji.

Sooraj Nair, an engineering student, said that though he does not follow politics he has been shocked by the number of messages he is getting on his WhatsApp account on the Somalia issue. “From what I see, Modi could well have avoided such a remark as we have been taught that the ‘Kerala model of development’ is something that attracted international attention.

“So from the little I know, it is that Modi was making a political speech to belittle our state, for political gains,” said Nair.

But joining issue is Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers H.N. Ananth Kumar, who told reporters in the state capital, that Modi will not react to controversies and he is only interested in development.

“Chandy is trying to use this to deviate from issues. The sentence that can be best used is ‘Po Mone Chandy’,” retorted Kumar.

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