A day before billionaire George Soros made comments on the Adani group and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar had warned against “doctored narratives” coming in the way of India’s growth.
The Vice President, while addressing Indian Information Service (IIS) probationers at his official home in Delhi on Wednesday, asked the young officers – who handle the media wing of the government – to guard against “sinister designs” that try to hurt India’s growth story.
“While India is on the rise, sinister designs are there to set afloat a narrative by free fall of information. We have to be alert. This is another way of invasion. We have to neutralize it boldly. We have to instil in us a spirit of nationalism. We cannot allow free fall of doctored narratives to run down our growth story.”
The Vice President, giving an example of how the “narrative” works, referred to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“India… is rightly reckoned in the world as the land of opportunity and land of investment. But all this can be muddied if our information mechanism is not strong. Imagine and it will flash in your mind – when we were battling Covid, the narrative was ‘Where is Covid? It’s a political tool to side track the issue facing the nation’. You have faced it. Covid did come. The government was right,” Mr Dhankhar said.
India is rightly reckoned in the world as the land of opportunity and the land of investment. But all this can be muddied if our information mechanism is not strong. @iis_now@IIMC_Indiapic.twitter.com/h4vusIOVIl
— Vice President of India (@VPIndia) February 15, 2023
Mr Dhankhar’s comments also came while income tax officers were doing a “survey” at the BBC’s Delhi and Mumbai offices to check alleged mismatch between the income/profits of the British broadcaster’s group firms and their scale of operations in India.
The BBC recently ran a docuseries on PM Modi and the 2002 Gujarat riots, a reportage that the BJP called was “venomous”.
On social media, the BJP and its supporters have alleged a massive conspiracy to undermine India’s growth and have clubbed Mr Soros, 92, with this “ecosystem”.
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Thursday, Mr Soros said “Modi and business tycoon Adani are close allies; their fate is intertwined” and the conglomerate’s troubles would “significantly weaken Modi’s stranglehold on India’s federal government” and “open the door to push for much needed institutional reforms”, the Financial Times reported.
Adani group firms shares had fallen drastically before recovering in the past few weeks after a US-based short seller, Hindenburg Research, alleged corporate fraud, an allegation the group denied strongly.
The BJP has accused Mr Soros of trying to undermine India’s democracy.
“A foreign power at the centre of which is a man named George Soros has announced that he will hurt India’s democratic structure. He has announced that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be his main target. He has also announced that he will help build a system in India that will protect his interests, not India’s,” Union Minister Smriti Irani told reporters in Delhi.
“This is not just an attempt to hurt India’s image, if you listen to him carefully, he talks of regime change,” she said. “India has always defeated foreign powers whenever it was challenged and will continue to defeat them in the future too.”
(Disclaimer: New Delhi Television is a subsidiary of AMG Media Networks Limited, an Adani Group Company.)