The BJP suffered defeats in three states namely Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan at the hands of the Congress on Tuesday this week. The same day, as the counting of votes painted a gloomy picture for the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi briefly appeared before the media to talk about the Winter Session of parliament.
He told reporters outside the parliament on the eve of the start of the Winter Session, “I am confident that political parties will keep public interest in mind and make use of this session to utilise it for furthering public interests and not parties interests.”
Modi’s comments were widely covered by media outlets as they flashed his remarks from their respective social media handles. Also flashing the headline with prominence was Doordarshan News, India’s public broadcaster. Its newsflash read in Hindi, “Sansad ke sheetkaleen satra se poorv pradhanmantri narendra modi nekaha tez tarrar charcha ho, teekhi charcha ho magar charcha to ho. (Before the Winter Session of Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that discussions should happen even if they were heated and bitter.”
However, the person posting the newsflash in Hindi, seemingly failed to employ caution while using the appropriate punctuation mark, making the headline sound like ‘Former Prime Minister Narendra Modi.’ Since there was no comma after poorv, the word was read along with the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Hindi word poorv has a dual meaning of ‘former’ and ‘before.’
Social media users including some journalists were quick to link the typo to the day’s development, when Modi was facing the biggest electoral defeat of his career as India’s prime minister. Since, he will be seeking a second term in office in the next few months, the typo by DD News’ social media handler was immediately linked to Modi’s electoral setbacks and its future consequences.
Journalist Jaskirat Singh Bawa wrote, “Woah! Who is gonna get fired for this?” Realising his that he too had misread the sentence, Bawa corrected himself in his subsequent tweet as he wrote, “OK.. Read that wrong. It reads as “BEFORE (poorv) the Winter Session begin, PM Modi says…”
Bawa wasn’t the only journalist failing to detect the punctuation error in the DD’s tweet. News website The Print too carried it with a headline, “DD does it again, calls Modi ex-PM.”
Other social media users too reacted, taking a dig at the national broadcaster. One user wrote, “IT seems they (DD News) now have aptly change the name of Shitkalin satra to ” shokalin satra ” (sic)” Another user commented, “Even DD taking jibe at BJP.” “Is that a premonition?” asked another user.
However, others were more pragmatic as they emphasised on the need to exercise care while using punctuation marks. One wrote, “That’s why comma and fullstop have huge importance in real life.”