Martina Navratilova, one of the greatest tennis players of all time, mocked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah over a news report in which Shah is quoted as saying that Modi was “the most democratic leader” India had ever seen. Navratilova, the winner of 18 Grand Slam singles titles, 31 major women’s doubles titles, and 10 major mixed doubles titles, tweeted: “And for my next joke...” followed by a clown emoji.
Navratilova, who formed a successful professional partnership with India’s Leander Paes, has been a Modi critic for the past few years. She had earlier accused Modi and former US President Donald Trump of “trying to stifle the truth as much as possible, if that truth doesn’t suit their political purpose”.
Martina: Not sure why you are trying to say here but the truth is that the people in power, like Modi and like trump, are trying to stifle the truth as much as possible, if that truth doesn’t suit their political purpose. So there is that…. So I stand by that post, thank you.
The tennis legend first tweeted about Modi following the enactment of the National Registry of Citizens in Assam in 2019, when she shared an article about the policy turning four million people accused of being “infiltrators” stateless, saying Modi and Trump shared the same school of thought.
Martina: 4 Million Indian Citizens Could Be Made Stateless Tomorrow. Here’s What to Know - TIME- sounds familiar? Modi and trump- if not the same school, certainly the same school of thought. Ridiculous...
This is yet another instance of Modi’s international image taking a beating. During the farmers’ protests, several foreign celebrities spoke up in support of the farmers. The catalyst, in February 2021, was a tweet by Rihanna, which shared a story about the protests asking “Why aren’t we talking about this?!” to her 100.9 million Twitter followers. Her tweet led to several global voices adding support for the farmers protests, including Greta Thunberg, YouTuber Lilly Singh, climate activist Jamie Margolin and UK MP Claudia Webbe.
As a counter measure, the Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement urging people to ascertain the facts “before rushing to comment on such matters...the temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments ,especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, is neither accurate nor responsible”. The MEA later issued a statement claiming “vested interest groups” were trying to mobilise international support against India, and cited instances of statues of Mahatma Gandhi being vandalised.