每日英語跟讀 Ep.K178: In a Crisis, India’s Modi Could Always Change the Narrative. Then Came COVID.
As India gasped for air at the peak of its COVID devastation, its leader appeared to advise his people to just breathe normally.
The instructions, a bit of yoga advice for the stressed, came from one of the many social media accounts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has used powerful oratory and digital savvy to become India’s most dominant leader in decades. But the tweet showed how India’s master of public perception has increasingly struggled to get his message across, exposing the limits of his ability to control the narrative.
The omnipresent Modi had largely vanished from public view as his government proved powerless to stop the deaths and the mounting criticism about his performance. With his poll numbers dropping and his allies straining to make his case on India’s talk shows, he has increasingly pushed “be positive” messaging and feel-good tips.
The campaign has struggled to connect. “Sit in a comfortable meditative posture,” read a tweet from one of Modi’s many accounts, which project his diverse set of personas — this one the wise yoga guru. “Keep the spine erect. Place the hands on the thighs. Gently close the eyes and raise the face slightly. Breathe normally.”
Responded one commenter: “This is like rubbing salt on wounds.”
In turn, Modi has tried to quash dissent. His government has been locked in a messy showdown with social media platforms over taking down critical content. Police in Delhi, the capital, arrested at least 20 people for putting up posters critical of Modi’s handling of vaccinations. A Modi protégé, who leads India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, threatened those who complained about oxygen shortages.
One survey found disapproval with Modi had risen by about 10 percentage points since the second wave intensified. In another survey, one in six people said they had lost a loved one and blamed the central government first, and then “destiny,” for their loss.
“So much death, so much despair — children lost their parents overnight, elderly parents lost their young children, people lost their spouses,” said Shruti Chaturvedi, an entrepreneur doing relief work in the state of Goa. “How can we dare tell them ‘be positive’?”
Modi’s approval rating is still above 60%, according to one poll. But the growing dissatisfaction suggests the prime minister may not so easily be able to change public sentiment by pushing emotional nationalist causes or shifting his image as he has done in the past. Rather, like any other politician, he may increasingly be judged by his ability to deliver.
根據民調，莫迪支持率仍高於60%。但日益高漲的不滿顯示，莫迪或許不能再像過去那樣，輕易透過推動情緒化民族主義目標或轉變自身形象，來改變公眾情緒。相反，跟其他政治人物一樣，人們可能逐漸會以執政能力評判他。Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/5574905