Prashant Kishor slams Centre's 'positivity propaganda' to counteract COVID-19 criticism
Election strategist Prashant Kishor, the head of the Indian Political Action Committee, on Wednesday attacked the Centre over the tragedies unfolding across India in wake of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Kishor's remarks came in light of the Bharatiya Janata Party and its ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh reportedly strategizing to offset widespread criticism of the ruling government's handling of the pandemic.
In the face of a grieving nation and tragedies unfolding all around us, the continued attempt to push FALSEHOOD and PROPAGANDA in the name of spreading POSITIVITY is disgusting!— Prashant Kishor (@PrashantKishor) May 12, 2021
For being positive we don’t have to become blind propagandist of the Govt.
In a subsequent tweet, the political consultant said the government's "bluff and bluster" amid the COVID-19 crisis would be "thoroughly exposed." It is the people who would have to pay the heaviest price of the "impending catastrophe," he added. Kishor is credited with successfully planning the election campaign for Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress in the recently held West Bengal Assembly elections.
Separately, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi described the Centre's message as "burying one's head in the sand" and a "betrayal of citizens." "False assurance of 'positive thinking' is a joke on those families and health-workers who lost their loved ones and are suffering a crisis of oxygen, hospitals, and medicines," he tweeted. He had earlier written to the Prime Minister and listed four "urgent" suggestions.
Recently, the Centre organized a workshop titled 'Effective Communications' to "create a positive image of the government," and manage "perception through effectively highlighting positive stories and achievements." The 90-minute-workshop, where Union Minister Prakash Javadekar also spoke to the participants, was attended by 300 top officials. Its objective was to make the government "be seen to be sensitive, bold, quick, responsive, hard-working, etc."
Further, the RSS has begun a series of online lectures titled 'Positivity Unlimited' between May 11-15 to "set aside helplessness and negativity" amid the pandemic. Organized by RSS's COVID Response Team, it will be available on the Facebook and YouTube accounts of Vishwa Samwad Kendra, the RSS's communication arm. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and Wipro group chairman Azim Premji are among the key speakers.
The official Twitter handle for the PM monthly radio address, 'Mann Ki Baat,' mentions that the powerful message of positivity needs to be communicated. BJP president JP Nadda on Tuesday wrote to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, rebutting her criticism of the government's handling of the pandemic. Union Ministers have also been tweeting the government's efforts, such as the movement of the Oxygen Express.
Several Union ministers and BJP functionaries Tuesday tweeted an article by The Daily Guardian, the headline of which stated that the Prime Minister is "working hard," and asked readers not to get trapped by the "Opposition's barbs." The article was compared to The Guardian's article on social media, which said the PM's "overconfidence" was responsible for the country's "disastrous COVID-19 response."
India on Wednesday reported over 4,200 COVID-19 deaths, marking the highest single-day spike in fatalities since the start of the pandemic. The death toll has reached 2,54,197. According to the Union Health Ministry, till Wednesday morning, India reported a total of 2,33,40,938 COVID-19 cases, while 37,04,099 cases involve active infections. In the past 24 hours alone, India recorded 3,48,421 new infections.