Supporters of the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi may loathe the media on occasions when the chips are down and the party is faced with unfavourable electoral outcomes such as the one in Bihar. But, if Modi’s Diwali Milan party with journalists on Saturday is anything to go by, the party will be doubly reassured about the craze for the prime minister amongst the members of the Indian media.
On Saturday, PM Modi invited members of the media fraternity for what was dubbed as Diwali Milan party. No sooner did the prime minister arrive at the BJP headquarter at 11 Ashoka Road, was he mobbed by journalists who fought with each other to take a selfie with the ‘rockstar’ prime minister of India.
“I wanted to host this event around Diwali, but I was indisposed. It’s good that it is happening now or else we would have had to wait till Christmas,” he jested.
Speaking on the occasion Modi said, “Celebrating a festival gives direction as well as strength to the society. I can’t imagine the number of stories that can be churned if we sit to analyse the impact of our festivals in our society. If you take the Kumbh Mela for example, a small Europe comes and assembles by the Ganga every day — that is (how many) people gather at the event. This signifies strength.”
However, the event became hugely controversial after photos of journalists taking selfies with Modi were carried by news outlets with many taking a potshot at both journalists and Modi.
Many twitter users found it odd primarily because they felt it undermined their claims on objectivity and impartiality.
This episode has come a day after a foreign correspondent working for the Washington Post revealed how the central government was spending tax-payers’ money in engaging PR firms to liaise with media organisations for allegedly influencing coverage in its favour abroad.
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah took a jibe at journalists who were seen taking selfies with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his Diwali Milan event, calling it an “undignified selfie circus”.
“This is the media we expect will ask tough questions of this government? Great visuals of an undignified selfie circus!!!” Omar posted on Twitter.
Here’s what twitter users had to say on journalists’ obsession for selfie Modi.
Pradhan Mantri Journalist Selfie Yojana launched today! #ModiMediaGate
— aditi (@aditi_hbl) November 28, 2015
— Akki (@Akeel_Khan01) November 28, 2015
Me first me first… The new Selfie journalist as a partaker, not observer… https://t.co/Az00ZOje27
— ranjona banerji (@ranjona) November 28, 2015
Ha. I see a journalist who is the most disgusting slime on earth in a selfie with the PM. And I don't normally call people slime
— Dhanya Rajendran (@dhanyarajendran) November 28, 2015
The media who criticises Modi as Selfie PM has gone crazy to take Selfie with him.
Say hello to our journalist pic.twitter.com/JFFeQV77SM
— Praveen Kumar Dixit (@IPraveenDixit) November 28, 2015
Journalist in UK: Mr PM Why is there so much intolerance in India?
Journalist in India: Sir ekk selfie please..
— . (@starlordism) November 28, 2015
Every journalist and editors are crazy to get a selfie with modiji so that they can upload it as twitter dp n gain followers. #ModiMediaGate
— Green Panther (@Man_Of_LetteRss) November 28, 2015
— Ravi Kant Mittal (@ravikantmittal) November 28, 2015
The most important question a journalist in India has to Prime Minister Narendra Modi: Sir, May I have a selfie with you? #Journalism
— Kunāl (@kunalmajumder) November 28, 2015
Our intellectuals were so darn right. This hostile media led to BJP's defeat in Bihar
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) November 28, 2015
Minhaz Merchant and Swapan Dasgupta vindicated. Media really is anti-Modi pic.twitter.com/FVXoggiZzn
— IndiaExplained (@IndiaExplained) November 28, 2015