Prime Minister Narendra Modi distanced himself from a viral message that appealed to applaud him at 5 pm for five minutes on April 12, 2020 for his efforts in the fight against COVID-19. However, he also tweeted that those who really wanted to show their appreciation should do so by taking responsibility of a poor family instead until the COVID-19 crisis is over.
In two consecutive tweets the prime minister said he was made aware of the message that was doing the rounds and that at first glance it could be seen as an attempt at mischief to drag his name into a controversy. But he also said that it was possible that there would be some who would want to do it willingly, instead he appealed to them to shoulder the responsibility of a poor family until the coronavirus scare was over.
"It has been brought to my notice that some people are running a campaign to honour Modi ji by standing for five minutes. At first sight this looks like a mischief to pull Modi into controversy," the tweet when translated reads.
मेरे ध्यान में लाया गया है कि कुछ लोग यह मुहिम चला रहे हैं कि 5 मिनट खड़े रहकर मोदी को सम्मानित किया जाए। पहली नजर में तो यह मोदी को विवादों में घसीटने की कोई खुराफात लगती है।— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 8, 2020
हो सकता है कि यह किसी की सदिच्छा हो, तो भी मेरा आग्रह है कि यदि सचमुच में आपके मन में इतना प्यार है और मोदी को सम्मानित ही करना है तो एक गरीब परिवार की जिम्मेदारी कम से कम तब तक उठाइए, जब तक कोरोना वायरस का संकट है। मेरे लिए इससे बड़ा सम्मान कोई हो ही नहीं सकता।— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 8, 2020
"It is possible that some people might want to do this willingly but my appeal to you is that if you really have so much love and you really want to honour Modi, take the responsibility of a poor family at least till the coronavirus scare is not over. For me, no honour will be bigger than this," he added further.
An appeal asking Indian citizens to give a standing ovation to the prime minister at 5 pm for five minutes on April 12, started doing the rounds of WhatsApp late Tuesday.
"Narendra modi - This man has done so much for us and our nation. This Sunday on 12th of April, let us all give a standing ovation and salute our PM. Everyone is requested to stand in their house balconies at 5 p.m. and give a standing ovation and salute Our prime minister, Mr Narendra Modi for 5 mins."
It is not clear how the message originated.
The government of India officially announced a nationwide lockdown on March 24 for three weeks to contain the spread of COVID-19. Prior to the lockdown, the prime minister had announced a 14-hour long self imposed curfew, named as Janta Curfew, on March 22, 2020, as a prelude to the 'long battle against the novel Coronavirus spread'. Citizens were asked to come out in their balconies or doorways at 5 pm on the same day and applaud the professionals delivering essential services during the times of crises.
Two weeks into the lockdown, PM Modi urged citizens to switch off electricity lights at 9 pm for nine minutes, and light candles, diyas, torch lights or mobile flash lights standing at their doorsteps or balconies on April 5.
Both appeals made by the prime minister were met with an overwhelming response.