At 11.23 am, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that he would be addressing the nation between 11.45 am and noon. But by 12.20 pm, he was nowhere to be heard or seen on television, radio or social media. Speculation about the content of his address flew wildly because Modi had earlier in the day sat in a meeting with the Cabinet Committee on Security, which was also attended by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.
Finally, around 12.23 pm, Modi appeared on TV screens to announce that an Indian-made anti-satellite weapon called A-SAT had successfully targeted a live satellite on a Low Earth Orbit as part of an operation called Mission Shakti.
“In the journey of every nation there are moments that bring utmost pride and have a historic impact on generations to come. One such moment is today,” Modi said in a tweet. “It shows the remarkable dexterity of India’s outstanding scientists and the success of our space programme.”
Before that, though, as India sat down anxiously to wait for his announcement, many filled the time with time by making jokes on social media. Many were reminded of their days crowding outside ATMs back on December 8 three years ago, when Modi demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.
As anticipation grew, Twitter kept busy.
Someone was armed with a chowkidar joke.
Some speculated about what Modi would announce.
There was speculation from many quarters that Modi’s announcement would violate the Election Commission of India’s Model Code of Conduct.
The account IndianHistoryPics, always ready with a timely image, had a rather dark observation to make.
Twitter finally breathed a sigh of relief after Modi’s announcement was done, and the demonetisation references were nicely rounded up.
Others made a reference to the cricket controversy earlier this week involving Kings XI Punjab skipper R Ashwin of the “Mankadding” Rajasthan Royals batsman Jos Buttler during an Indian Premier League encounter on Monday night.