'Nero fiddled while Rome burnt...': Oppn lambasts PM for watching light and sound show in Varanasi amid farmers protests

Opposition leaders have slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking a trip to his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi, where he enjoyed a light and sound show on the banks of river Ganga, while a massive farmers' protest is on in capital Delhi.

Several Congress leaders called the Prime Minister "Nero" as he tweeted a video of him enjoying the show.

For the uninitated, Nero was the fifth Roman Emperor whose reign is often associated with tyranny and extravagance. The well known expression suggesting that "Nero fiddled while Rome burned" refers to his efforts during the Great Fire of Rome in 64 AD. Like many tales, this too is likely to be hyperbolic, both because the fiddle is not believed to have exist at the time, and also because Nero had returned to Rome and begun relief measures soon after the fire broke out.

Congress leaders take the reference from a Supreme Court observation on 2002 riots when it referred to the Narendra Modi-led state government as "modern day Neros".

Earlier on Monday, the Prime Minister dedicated to the nation the six-laning of the highway to Allahabad and offered prayers at the Kashi Vishwanath temple. He also also addressed a gathering in his Lok Sabha constituency of Varanasi.

The Prime Minister, accompanied by Chief Minister Yogi Adiyanath had also participated in Dev Deepawali celebrations at the Raj Ghat in Varanasi, launching the Dev Deepawali Mahotsav. A video shared by Prime Minister Modi on Twitter showed him watching a light and sound show at the ghat.

Needless to say the post sparked quite a flurry of reactions online.

"Tak-dhin-a-dhin! Bye bye lights! Modi fiddled as India burnt," tweeted lawyer Prashant Bhushan.

Congress leader and party's Grievance Cell Chairperson Archana Dalmia opted to give netizens a quick history lesson while sharing the clip. "In July of 64 A.D., a great fire ravaged Rome for six days, destroying 70% of the city, leaving half its population homeless. According to a well-known expression, Rome’s emperor at the time, the decadent and unpopular Nero, fiddled while Rome burned," she tweeted.

"Nero is Modi. Modi is Nero. Agree?" asked Youth Congress National President, Srinivas B V.

(With inputs from agencies)

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