The government’s mega-push for “positivity” to fend off criticism, both in the country and abroad, has set up a new political flashpoint, with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi calling it “burying one’s head in the sand” and a betrayal of citizens.
“The false assurance of ‘positive thinking’ is a joke on those families and health workers who have lost their loved ones and are suffering a crisis of oxygen, hospitals and medicines. Burying one’s head in the sand is not positive – it is a betrayal of our citizens,” the Congress MP tweeted.
Poll strategist Prashant Kishor called it “disgusting” to push “propaganda” in the name of spreading positivity.
“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! For being positive we don’t have to become blind propagandist of the government,” Mr Kishor tweeted.
The sharp reactions follow reports of a new strategy of the government, the ruling BJP and its ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to fight massive national and international criticism of the Narendra Modi government’s handling of the Covid second wave.
Last week, central government officials including joint secretary rank officials were made to attend a workshop on better communication and highlighting of the government’s “positive work”, sources have told NDTV.
Union ministers have been tweeting efforts like the movement of Oxygen Express and stories and articles on the government’s outreach.
The official Twitter handle for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s monthly radio address Mann Ki Baat mentions that the powerful message of positivity needs to be communicated.
As part of the pushback, BJP president JP Nadda wrote a sharp letter to Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi yesterday rebutting her criticism of the government, its policies on vaccines and election rallies held by PM Modi and other senior leaders.
In his four-page letter, Mr Nadda listed how the government had distributed ventilators procured under the PM Cares fund and how concerted efforts are being made to handle this crisis.
The RSS plans to organise an online event called “Positivity Unlimited”. This will feature lectures and speeches by motivators, religious gurus and prominent industrialists. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat is also expected to address the nation.