On 2 September, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s picture in full page Reliance Jio advertisements on the launch of its telecom service kicked up a controversy with opposition parties taking jibes at him.
Congress said that Modi should take action against Reliance Jio if the telecom company had failed to take permission from the PMO for using his photograph.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal mockingly dubbed Modi as “Mr Reliance” and accused him of “openly endorsing” its latest Jio services whose launch was announced by business magnate Mukesh Ambani on Friday.
The AAP chief’s caustic jibe at Modi, including an advice to him to “keep modelling for Reliance”, came on a day the Mukesh Ambani-led group splashed advertisements featuring the face of the Prime Minister across newspapers.
“Modiji you keep modelling for Reliance ads. Labourers across the country will teach you a lesson in 2019. PM as Mr Reliance. Any more proof required to prove that Modiji is in Ambani’s pockets. PM of India openly endorses Reliance product,” Kejriwal said in a series of tweets.
Reliance, through its ads, dedicated the Jio 4G service to the Modi government’s flagship Digital India project.
Full-page “Joi: Digital Life” jacket advertisements were published with a photograph of the Prime Minister, dressed in a blue jacket.
Modi allegedly modelling for Reliance also became a hot topic for social media conversations, while satirical parody accounts had field day using the opportunity to create laughter moments.
One such account was @RealHistoryPic, which posted several quirky tweets with images of Modi and Ambani.
One tweet (below) by @RealHistoryPic said, “Owner of Network 18 welcoming his employee to address people how cronies are going to halt inflation.”
This tweet, despite being widely shared didn’t catch the attention of nosy digital editors in newsrooms until Ratan Tata, former Chairman of Tata Group, posted a tweet in reply to the tweet posted by @RealHistoryPic.
Tata’s blank tweet only had Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal tagged. This prompted the social media users to indulge in speculation game as many wondered if the veteran industrialist had indirectly taken a dig at Modi’s close proximity to Amabni.
Mukesh Ambani, while launching his Jio project, had announced that Jio users will never have to pay for voice calls while also announcing the ‘lowest in the world’ tariff for 4G mobile data.
This didn’t go down well with Ambani’s rivals in telecom sector as many of whom wrote to Modi seeking its intervention on the issue to “restore fair competition”.
It was in this context that many social media users could not resist their temptation to link Ratan Tata’s tweet to Reliance Jio’s impact on Tata’s telecom business.
Understandably, Rata Tata’s tweet, which has now been deleted, got shared widely with even Facebook users fervently posting this on their pages.
But, contrary to the general perception, Tata’s tweet may not have been influenced by how he felt about Modi’s support to Reliance Jio. Tagging Kejriwal too may have been an innocuous error.
This is what may have happened.
Since Ratan Tata follows Kejriwal, anything that the Delhi chief minister tweets or shares on his page will, in most cases, show up on his timeline. Since Kejriwal had retweeted the above image by @RealHistoryPic, this may have appeared on Tata’s timeline.
Tata, then accidentally may have pressed the ‘reply’ option (which is a pretty common mistakes all of us make on our smart phones while reading Twitter posts). It’s not unreasonable to believe that Ratan Tata would be accessing his Twitter feed on his smart phone.
Since he accidentally replied to a tweet that had landed on his timeline through Kejriwal’s retweet, his reply was bound to have the Delhi chief minister tagged in his post.
So, while Ratan Tata may harbour genuine grudges against his business rivals because of his close proximity to Reliance owner, it would be unwise for him to let his emotions flow on Twitter so brazenly.
(With PTI inputs)