So, when will achhe din finally come? Wasn’t the sweeping victory of the BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections the arrival of the good days, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised?
India has won! भारत की विजय। अच्छे दिन आने वाले हैं।— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 16, 2014
These were anxious questions in social media the morning after BJP president Amit Shah’s remarks in Bhopal on Monday that a quarter of a century would be needed to deliver achhe din.
“Achhe din aane mein 25 saal lagenge (It will take 25 years to bring achhe din),” he was quoted as saying by The Times of India at the inauguration of the BJP's Maha Jansampark Abhiyan or mega mass-contact campaign in Madhya Pradesh.
"Desh ko duniya ke sarvochch sthan par baithana hai to paanch saal ki sarkaar kuchh nahi kar sakti (Five-year rule (by BJP) cannot make India the top world power)," Shah said.
The comments triggered a fusillade of fire in social media platforms against the BJP-led governments at the Centre as well as some states, such as Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, which have been battling some huge scandals.
अगर चुनाव के पहले भाजपा बता देती कि ये लोग अच्छे दिन 25 साल में लाएंगे, तो क्या लोग इन्हें वोट देते?— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) July 14, 2015
Hours after the controversy, the BJP said Shah was misquoted and party supporters put out an audio clip on social media which had his entire speech . The clip purportedly doesn't contain Shah's controversial statement. HT could not verify the authenticity of the audio clip.
A series of tweets from across the political spectrum made “Amit Shah” a top Twitter trend by Tuesday noon. Many users posted screenshots of newspaper clippings of the report on Shah’s speech in Bhopal.
Amit Shah are we going to suffer for next 25 years?— Silvia Fernandes (@slv_fernandes) July 14, 2015
As a satire on Shah’s comment, journalist Rajdeep Sardesai tweeted: “Should have changed my book sub-title: election that will change India in 25 years!”
Sardesai’s book on the 2014 elections is titled, 2014: The election that changed India.
Another mocking tweet came from Ashwin S Kumar, co-editor of the popular website The Unreal Times. “Amit Shah: It's okay, I'll speak to Ekta Kapoor and have her take us all 25 years ahead,” he posted, a take-off from Kapoor’s age-defying characters in her popular television soaps.
Another such tweet was:
Amit Shah: It'll take 25 years for ache din to come. Bhakt Reaction : pic.twitter.com/rEaNz7nYWD— Kirti Saxena (@kirtisaxena999) July 14, 2015
Many on Twitter compared Shah’s comments to what Modi said after winning the 2014 elections: that the thumping victory would be the harbinger of achhe din.
16 May 2014: Acche Din are going to come 1 June 2015: Acche Din have come 14 July 2015: Acche Din will take 25 years pic.twitter.com/PrmxLmcAda— Truth Of Gujarat (@TruthOfGujarat) July 14, 2015
Amid the barrage of critical tweets against Modi’s NDA government, some BJP supporters tweeted that the media was tweaking Shah’s remarks. Some said what Shah actually meant was “India can become a top world power only after 25 years of BJP rule”.
Twitter user @mangooppl wrote: “As usual Media manipulates wat Amit shah has said that it will take 25 yrs for india to become world no 1 not achhe din to come!(sic)”
Me - Read Amit Shah's full statement. Response - Bhakt lol Bhakt Errrrrr apparently reading before outraging is Bhakti. Things you learn— Gappistan Radio (@GappistanRadio) July 14, 2015
Some users also praised Shah, who completed one year as BJP chief on July 8, for being a candid politician.
“One thing about Amit Shah, he's a candid politician calls out jumlas frequently. Props for that, while others politicians misguide people!” wrote journalist Swati Chaturvedi, who was in the news for filing a police complaint against an anonymous troll on Twitter.
Amit Shah is trending for giving in to a rare moment of honesty. What a time to be alive.— Suprateek Chatterjee (@SupraMario) July 14, 2015
The Press Trust of India reported that the BJP on Tuesday said Shah had stated that it would take these many years to restore India its ancient glory.
"Shah said the BJP government had curbed corruption and brought down inflation. It is working to end corruption and create many jobs in five years. But the dream of making India vishwa guru or world leader will take 25 years," BJP secretary Shrikant Sharma told PTI.
Sharma was earlier quoted in the Times of India as saying, “Shah referred to the 25-year timeframe for the larger national goal of re-installing India as a global leader. He was very clear that the Modi government was working hard to fulfill governance-related promises such as inflation control, national security, infrastructure creation, economic regeneration and the material well being of people.”
(The writer tweets as @saha_abhi1990 )