Let media do its job, don’t give it masala: Modi to BJP leaders

The Prime Minister’s comments assumes significance in the wake of opposition parties’ attempts to put up a united front against the BJP over Dalit issues.

Do not blame the media for controversies that get created when you fail to exercise restraint, Prime Minister Narendra Modi cautioned Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmakers on Sunday. Interacting with them through the Narendra Modi app, he advised the MPs and MLAs against speaking on subjects they are not authorised to speak on by the party.

The PM’s remarks come at a time when statements from party leaders, including ministers, over recent incidents of rape, attacks on members of the Scheduled Castes, and scientific and mythological topics, have fuelled controversies. “We make mistakes and give masala (fodder) to the media… as if we are great social scientists and experts to analyse issues. The moment you see a camera you start speaking,” Modi said. “Don’t stand in front of the TV (camera) and start preaching to the country. Let the media do its job,” he added.

Modi’s warning to his party’s lawmakers came hours after Union minister of state (MoS) for labour and employment Santosh Gangwar said, “Such incidents (rape cases) are unfortunate… But sometimes you can’t stop them. In a big country like ours, if one or two incidents take place, brouhaha should not be created over it… Government is taking effective steps.”

Last week, Tripura chief minister Biplab Deb had said the internet had existed in the period of the Mahabharata. His statement was widely mocked on social media and triggered a string of jokes and memes on the web and WhatsApp groups.

Earlier, MoS for human resource development Satyapal Singh had disputed Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. His senior in the council of ministers Dr Harshavardhan, while inaugurating the Indian Science Congress, had claimed Vedic knowledge was superior to Albert Einstein’s relativity equation.

“We recently lost a renowned scientist, cosmologist Stephen Hawking. He also emphatically said on record that our Vedas might have a theory which is superior to Einstein’s theory of e=mc2,” Harsh Vardhan had said last month.

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