Doordarshan’s comic relief exposes PM Modi’s ‘COVID relief’ and the ‘poor’ beneficiaries

Series of propaganda video were meant to bolster PM’s image by showing women expressing their gratitude for having received the princely sum of Rs 500. The women looked anything but poor though.

Doordarshan’s comic relief exposes PM Modi’s ‘COVID relief’ and the ‘poor’ beneficiaries

NH Web Desk

One would have thought that finding the poor should be fairly easy in this poor country. But our rich government and its propaganda arm Doordarshan made the task look difficult by tweeting video clips of well-fed, middle class women masquerading as the poor.

They all claimed they were eternally grateful to the Prime Minister for sending five hundred Rupees to their Jan Dhan bank accounts. The rock star among the women was one who could barely stop smiling and in fact blurted out that she was so happy that all work had come to a standstill! A can of ghee, which the poor cannot afford and which costs more than the five hundred Rupees the Government is said to have credited into her account, lay on a shelf in the kitchen and mocked at what she said.

By tweeting the video clip on social media, the public broadcaster invited immediate ridicule by way of response.

“मुझे बताते हुए काफ़ी ख़ुशी हो रही है की हमारा सारा काम रुका हुआ है” Who has directed this comedy circus for the government? Is this PR or an indictment of the government?

Another woman who apparently wouldn't survive without the Rs 500/-! See her kitchen. The Govardhan Ghee alone costs around Rs 400/-

Other ‘poor’ women that Doordarshan found for the propaganda were also well dressed and spoke in front of houses, which the poor cannot afford. A fire extinguisher, hardly something that India’s poor keep at home, lurked outside the door as one of the women spoke. A propaganda poster of the BJP is also seen pasted on the wall.

It turned out to be a PR disaster for the Government but raised questions about the Government’s intent and flaws in targeting the poor. The allegation that the Government is chanelling public money to the accounts of BJP supporters and workers cannot be substantiated without proper auditing. But the videos did nothing to allay such suspicion.

While Modi Government’s hunger for publicity is well known, there was something obscene about the videos and the way the videos tried to take political advantange of a humanitarian crisis. The brazen attempt to build up the personality cult around Narendra Modi in the tutored videos caught attention of several observers, who wondered why a welfare scheme should be used for political propaganda.

“The money that is supposed to go to the Jan Dhan accounts of poor is being transferred to the accounts of BJP workers, who are featuring in DD's propaganda videos,” alleged Gaurav Pandhi while CPI(ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya sarcastically tweeted, “ Great to see @DDNewsLive bring us some real life lockdown feedback from grateful Indians …who says it a lockdown without a plan ?”

Other reactions were equally scathing.

Dear DD people, you should have chosen a better actress, who indeed looked poverty-stricken to justify the ‘gratitude’ for Rs 500.

She can add 55 rupees from her pocket and buy one more jar of Govardhan ghee. Dumb Darshan can’t do anything believable, even cheap propaganda. This script writer and director must be fired immediately for doing a lousy job

Wow @DDNewslive ! What wonderful #lockdown coverage from the Republic of balconies! What meticulous documentation of the dramatic changes in people's lives after the govt deposited Rs 500 in their Jan Dhan accounts! The great man himself may find it difficult to recognise it tho.

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