“I thank @narendramodi for his initiative to honour and empower women this Diwali. Acknowledgement motivates us to work harder and make India proud. #bharatkilaxmi.”
From boxer Mary Kom to wrestler Pooja Dhanda, from badminton champions PV Sindhu to Saina Nehwal, India’s top sportswomen tweeted this identical message from their official handles on Diwali eve on Saturday, lauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his claimed efforts to empower women.
Twitter users found identical tweets with the hashtag #BharatkiLaxmi.
Like PV Sindhu, most sportswomen either quote tweeted or tagged Kiren Rijiju, the Minister of State (independent charge) for Youth Affairs and Sports.
Much to everybody’s amusement, some of them failed to remove the word “Text:” from the message that had obviously been provided to them to tweet. Pooja Dhanda deleted her tweet after many users pointed this out.
The coordinated campaign for #BharatkiLaxmi was kicked off on October 22 with a video featuring Sindhu and movie star Deepika Padukone. The video was shared by Sindhu saying, “I support PM @narendramodi ji #BharatKiLaxmi movement.” This was retweeted Modi.
A full-fledged campaign followed shortly after, with identical tweets from leading sportswomen and tweets on the hashtag by several Union ministers and supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The information about leading sportswomen “lauding PM Modi’s efforts to empower women” became a news item for media outlets.
This was an obvious exercise in headline management and it is clear that international-level sportswomen were used for political propaganda.
This article first appeared on Alt News.