There’s nothing like a careless comment about gas to get the humour mill churning on social media – especially if the remark comes from India’s prime minister, who has played fast and loose with facts on several occasions.
At an event to mark World Biofuel Day in New Delhi on August 10, Narendra Modi claimed that he had once read about a tea seller in a small town who tapped into gas emanating from a gutter to make the beverage. “There used to be a dirty river flowing through this town,” Modi said. “Now, this man had an idea. He took a small utensil, inverted it, made a hole in it and put a pipe through that. Gas used to emanate from the gutter and using that pipeline, he used the gas for his tea stall. An easy technique.”
Modi, who has often stressed on his humble origins and has claimed that in his childhood, he would help his father sell tea, joked that this story caught his attention because of its chai connection.
A few publications pointed out that Modi’s contention was not factually incorrect as much as it was an over-simplification, for while biogas can be produced from sewage, it is only through a much more complicated process.
Some pointed to an actual story from Chhattisgarh.
Other Twitter users had already been pointing to the the problem in the claims made, by pointing to the simplification in the prime minister’s claims.
The Congress party had already been quick off the block, mocking the claims.
There were other news channels that questioned whether “Rahul Gandhi was mocking India’s innovativeness”
This led to responses on the lines that perhaps the prime minister had inadvertently ended up inventing a new laughing gas.
Other Twitter users joined in, mocking the prime minister’s claims.
Parody handle @JioInstitute also chimed in. The account was created after the Modi government controversially awarded an Institution of Eminence tag to the Reliance-backed Jio Institute, which is yet to be set up, alongside other distinguished institutions.
“That’s why they say the prime minister of this country should be educated,” tweeted Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, taking a dig at controversies raised over the prime minister’s educational qualifications and his purported Master’s degree in the curiously named “entire political science”.
Journalist Shahid Siddiqui pointed to the state of the economy and the jobs situation.
Scatological humour, of course, abounded.