PM Modi’s attempts to project himself as tolerant leader backfire on social media


Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that cartoons did not hurt but they had a healing power. His comments came while speaking after launching a coffee table book, titled “Timeless Laxman”, on the life and times of renowned cartoonist late RK Laxman.

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“Even through his way of dressing, one cannot make out which part of India he represents. Laxman’s approach was to find diversity in caricatures and bring them together. Cartoons don’t hurt. They have a healing power,” Modi was quoted by news agency PTI.

However, Modi’s attempts to project himself as a politician, who took criticism in his stride, did not go go down well with social media users. Many were quick to remind how noted cartoonist Satish Acharya had to lose his regular column in Mail Today, a newspaper owned by the India Today Group, after his cartoon depicted Modi under the clutches of the Chinese.

Taking to Facebook, Acharya had written in August, “That’s how my cartoon column with Mail Today ended yesterday. That’s how the editor looked at a cartoon and cartoonist’s opinion. That’s how the editor chose to shut a voice!

“The cartoon he rejected was about how China is surrounding India by spreading influence in countries like Maldives and others. The editor said the cartoon is ‘Very defeatist and the China problem is being overplayed’.”

Journalist Amey Tirodkar tweeted, “Really? @satishacharya knows something else!” User Tushar Shetty wrote, “N its surprising that those who share or create cartoons are put behind bars.” “Till the time they don’t feature 56 or his legions!,” another user Gurshan commented.

In April this year, a man was arrested in Assam for posting an objectionable cartoon on the social media featuring Modi. The man, identified as Jarir Ahmed Barbhuiya, was a resident of Ratanpur in Cachar district.

Modi is also the first prime minister, who has not held a single press conference in his entire term as the country’s prime minister. Critics say that his reluctance to hold press conference is because of his fear of facing uncomfortable questions.



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