There was a time when only one party had a thriving IT Cell which could target opponents who were deemed critical. However, the current political discourse on Twitter suggests that despite complaining about failing democratic institutions, at least the institution of coordinated IT Cell observations has been democratised.
A day after PM Modi’s go ‘vocal for local’ call, a host of Twitterati including some prominent ones including journalists and former civil servants had the exact same thought, suggesting either a paucity of original thought or a call-to-action from the same digital agency.
Former Prasar Bharti CEO Jawhar Sircar wrote: “Some one who wears Maybach sunglasses, sports a Movado watch, writes with the most expensive Mont Blanc pen and is chauffered (sic) around in BMW cars is telling me that I should buy local.”
Several others had the exact same epiphany.
To be fair to Mr Venu, he did mention he received it from someone.
How much do these things cost?
A BMW car model depends on the market price, but it is around Rs 8.9 crore in India, varying from place to place. A Movado watch costs around Rs 1.3 lakh, while a pair of Maybach sunglasses would set you back by anything upwards of Rs 1.6 lakh. A Mont Blanc pen can cost up to Rs 75,000 or more.
Of course, why owning any of these would be a call-to-action against going local is dichotomy only the aforementioned Twitter users could explain. The PM of a country, or any individual for that matter, is well within his right to buy or use whatever he deems fit. Unless one can prove without doubt that the gifts mentioned were brought with ill-gained wealth, it’s just a silly ad hominem argument.
It’s reminiscent of the kerfuffle that occurred when it emerged that former PM Manmohan Singh had taken home Bose speakers and Piaget watch among 101 gifts he received during his tenure. Perhaps we can only move forward as nation when we stop shaming rich people or throat-clutching over legitimate items bought with one’s own money.
Of course, knowing the PM's penchant for pageantry, one can be assured the aforementioned will be ditched for desi alternatives as way to boost confidence.
Modi’s vocal for local pitch
The prime minister said from today every Indian has to become "vocal for their local", not only to buy local products, but also to promote them proudly.
Time, the prime minister said, has taught us that "we must make the local as a mantra of our life".
"The global brands were sometimes also very local like this. But when people started using them, started promoting them, branding them, felt proud of them, they became global from local products," he said.
Modi said he is confident that the country can do this.
"Your efforts have increased my reverence for you every time ... When I requested you to buy khadi ... It was also said that the country's handloom workers should be supported. The demand and sales of both khadi and handloom have reached record levels in a very short time. Not only that, you also made it a big brand. There was a very small effort, but the result was very good," he said.