It has been a week of turmoil for poll-bound Puducherry. Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi was removed from her position via a late night missive from President Ram Nath Kovind, and several Congress legislators have resigned. Now, as Rahul Gandhi hit the campaign trail for elections to the assembly in the Congress-ruled Union Territory, it would seem that it was Chief Minister V Narayanasamy's turn to add to the chaos.
For those who have shied away from the news recently, Gandhi had on Wednesday undertaken a seven-hour visit to the southern UT, interacting with people from the fishermen community as well as students of a women's college. Unfortunately for the Congress leaders, excerpts from his public meeting have now gone viral for all the wrong reasons.
It began with his assertion that fishermen were the "farmers of the sea". And even as people processed this remark, Gandhi wondered aloud as to why they could not have a ministry in Delhi, similar to the farmers of the land. And while Gandhi appears to have forgotten that the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying has existed since 2019, social media users and BJP leaders were quick to remind him.
But the trolling and the criticism of the party's work did not end here. Far more problematic is the now viral clip that shows a woman at the public meeting complaining about Chief Minister Narayanasamy's efforts in the wake of cyclone Nivar. "He is here. Did he ever visit us during the cyclone?" she asks in Tamil.
But the complaint was lost in translation as the Chief Minister in question turned to Gandhi and explained in English that the woman had been talking about how he had come to the area and provided relief to locals. "During the Nivar cyclone, I came and visited the area and gave relief to them. That she is saying," Narayansamy told Gandhi, stumbling over the words.
And if Rahul Gandhi did not understand Tamil, it was also clear that the audience was not fluent with English - Narayansamy's translation provoked no outrage.
Unfortunately for the Chief Minister however, many social media users and Oppositions politicians do indeed understand both Tamil and English. The video clip has now gone viral, with many using it to hit out at the Congress-led administration.
There has been no official reaction to the situation from the Congress or its leaders.