Narendra Modi has a new challenge on his hands – a fitness challenge. On Thursday, the prime minister accepted a dare from India cricket captain Virat Kohli, who in turn was nominated by Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore. The sports minister initiated a social media campaign to encourage Indians to exercise more by tagging celebrities in tweets and nominating them for participate in fitness challenges. Since then, Twitter has been flooded with videos of actors and politicians doing planks, push ups and other (often awkward) physical tasks to prove they are up to the mission.
Modi is yet to post a video of his own, but tweeted that he would do so soon.
The prime minister’s prompt response to Kohli’s tweet at a time when he presumably has more pressing tasks on his hands – including the furore over the police crackdown on protests against Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukodi that has resulted in 13 deaths and skyrocketing fuel prices – prompted much criticism on Twitter. Modi’s silence on these issues prompted Opposition leaders and social media to offer some challenges of their own to the prime minister.
However, others managed to find the logic in the prime minister’s actions and pointed out that the fitness challenge was, in fact, a solution to pressing concerns. There were also suggestions and speculation about what Modi’s choice of excercise would be.
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