On August 5, some Twitter users took immense pleasure in pretending that India’s Prime Minister is not Narendra Modi but actually actress Swara Bhasker. They began tweeting to the actress, addressing her as the prime minister and asking her to be accountable for the state of affairs in the country. Their common mission seemed to be this: If it was indeed Bhasker and not Modi who has completed four years in power, what would they say to her?
The exercise showcased a clever use of satire, especially because it turned on its head the hate that Bhasker regularly receives online for her political views. Bhasker is no stranger to online trolls and is regularly attacked for her criticism of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
Some called for her to resign from the prime minister’s post. A parody account for the ‘new’ Prime Minister was created too.
While some users also referred to actual news reports that criticised Modi’s policies and actions and replaced Modi’s name and photograph in them with Bhasker’s, others created potential ones that could accelerate the demand for Bhasker’s resignation. An amused Bhasker found herself joining in.
Of course, there were also those who believed that Bhasker ought to be given more time to prove her mettle.