Indian cricketer Shikhar Dhawan was one of the high profile names who wasted no time in publicly congratulating Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the success of Mission Shakti. This was after Modi addressed the nation to announce that India had shot down a low orbit satellite using A-SAT missile capability.
Dhawan took to Twitter to publicly congratulate Modi and the scientists involved. He wrote, “Great achievement for our country as we become the fourth nation in the world to acquire the capability of the Anti-Satellite Missile System. Congratulations to @isro and @narendramodi for #MissionShakti Proud moment!”
Great achievement for our country as we become the fourth nation in the world to acquire the capability of the Anti-Satellite Missile System. Congratulations to @isro and @narendramodi for #MissionShakti Proud moment!
— Shikhar Dhawan (@SDhawan25) March 27, 2019
Modi responded to his tweet by using a cricketing analogy as he wrote, “Indeed, a proud moment for the whole nation. Just like you smash the bad deliveries out of the park, our scientists have given India the capability to smash those forces who threaten our peace and harmony.”
While BJP supporters began to praise Dhawan for congratulating Modi, the Indian cricketer’s statement did not go down well with other social media users, who accused him of indulging in sycophancy. Dhawan’s comments on social media came amidst a raging debate on whether Modi had violated the code of conduct by stopping scientists from announcing the feat. Modi’s critics argued that never before had any prime minister addressed the nation to make an announcement on the country’s success in a space programme. The Wednesday’s announcement, they argued, was a blatant attempt by Modi to seek electoral advantage in this year’s Lok Sabha polls.
In a series of tweet, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, “Today’s announcement is yet another limitless drama and publicity mongering by Modi desperately trying to reap political benefits at the time of election. This is a gross violation of Model Code of Conduct.” She said that her party will approach the Election Commission against Modi.
Many users on social media accused Dhawan of seeking a BJP ticket just like his former India colleague Gautam Gambhir, who recently joined the saffron party and may even contest from Delhi in the parliamentary polls. Others targeted Dhawan for alleged sycophancy in a bid to secure a Padma honour for himself in future.
— ??. ??? (@Dr_SJK) March 27, 2019
Shikhar bhi bhakton k elite clib me shamil
— चौकीदार लंकेश्वर (@fakeravan) March 27, 2019
R u also upcoming BJP MP? ?
— PB – 06 (@Sandeep01874) March 27, 2019
The lengths people go to, to get a Padma Shree ?
— Jim Roberts (@jmrbrts9491) March 27, 2019
More recently, another Indian cricketer R Ashwin had faced incessant trolling after he tagged Modi on Twitter to request if he can be allowed to cast his vote from whichever city he’s on the day of the polling because of his IPL commitment. He had asked, “I would also like to request you @narendramodi sir to enable every cricketer playing in the IPL to be allowed to cast their votes from which ever place they find themselves at.”
I would also like to request you @narendramodi sir to enable every cricketer playing in the IPL to be allowed to cast their votes from which ever place they find themselves at. ?
— Ashwin Ravichandran (@ashwinravi99) March 25, 2019
India will go for Lok Sabha polls in seven phases from 12 April, with the counting scheduled for 23 May.