Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking in Rajya Sabha on Monday
Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking in Rajya Sabha on Monday

As farmers protest at Delhi's borders and eminent personalities, both in India and abroad rail against the Indian government, Prime Minister Modi on Monday hit out at dissenters during a speech in the Rajya Sabha. In remarks that have since gone viral, he emphasised the need to protect the nation from 'Foreign Destructive Ideology' and 'Andolan Jivi'.

"We are well aware of some terms like 'Shram Jivi' and 'Buddhi Jivi'. But, I am seeing that from some time a new entity has come up in this country- 'Andolan Jivi'. This community can be spotted wherever there is a protest, be it agitation by lawyers, students, or labourers, sometimes at the forefront and sometimes from behind. They cannot live without protests. We have to identify such people and protect the nation from them. They are parasites," said the prime minister while replying to the motion of thanks on President's address in Rajya Sabha.

And even as a part of social media pounced gleefully on his new acronym for FDI and began debating who could be called "andolan jivi", Opposition parties and leaders were not too happy. The Aam Aadmi Party's social media team busied itself unearthing posts by social media handles associated with the Prime Minister that had in the past praised protestors.

In a series of tweets the party, whose leaders have been vocal in their support for the ongoing protests, countered points raised by Modi. Reacting to the Prime Minister's comments on MSP for example, the AAP wondered why the same information had not been mentioned in the disputed laws.

"MSP was there. MSP is there. MSP will remain in the future. Affordable ration for the poor will continue and Mandis will be modernised," Modi had said in the Rajya Sabha earlier today.

"There was no substance in PM Modi's speech in Rajya Sabha. He overlooked Congress' proposal on what lacks in three farm laws and rejected concerns of farmers, graduates and scientists saying nobody knows anything. Are we all fools?" demanded Congress MP Mallikarjun Kharge.

Farm leader Rakesh Tikait who is one of the leading members of the ongoing protests focused on the Prime Minister's claim that MSP was not going anywhere.

"Apart from two states, MSP was not there, is not there and will not be there. The ruling should not mislead the country," tweeted Tikait on Monday afternoon.

Many on social media also appear to have been taken umbrage with the remarks. "Andolan Jivi" has become a trending hashtag on Twitter, as both supporters of the Prime Minister as well as critics debate his use of the term.

And while some took pains to dig out older news articles and posts where the BJP and its leaders had resorted to protests to make their point heard, others countered out that by definition, many individuals who had fought for India's freedom from British rule could also be dubbed similarly.

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Free Press Journal