A Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader is unhappy as the Prime Minister’s office has disposed off his complaint written in Marathi about not having the regional language as an option in the ‘Narendra Modi’ app.
MNS leader Akhil Chitre recently lodged a grievance with the PMO as the app has only five Indian languages — Gujarati, Hindi, Kanada, Malayalam and Tamil — besides English, leaving out Marathi. The leader, however, promptly received a reply within days saying his complaint has been closed “due to translation” with no further action required.
“My complaint was in Marathi. The PMO just disposed it off as they couldn’t translate it. Marathi is a recognised regional language, and lakhs of Maharashtrians have voted the prime minister’s party into power. It is surprising that the government won’t take note of a complaint only because it is in Marathi,” Chitre, a youth wing leader with the MNS, said.
Even in the app, launched in 2015 to provide updates on the day-to-day activities of the prime minister, the first language option is English, followed by Gujarati, the regional language of Modi’s home state, while Hindi despite being the national language comes as the third option, Chitre said. The prime minister’s office had asked people to register their opinion on demonetisation recently on the same app.
In his complaint, Chitre said, “You are the prime minister of the entire country, and yet you gave preference to Gujarati language by placing it as the second option over the national language, Hindi. This shows that you have a lot of respect and pride for your home state and its regional language. But even in Maharashtra, it is your party that is in power and the Marathi-speaking population has elected your party’s legislators and parliamentarians, most of who are Marathis.”
He said, “How will the Marathi-speaking population establish a connect with you and how will you get a grasp on their troubles and feedback if the language is not even an option on the app?”
“It is not possible to know the feelings of the people by simply addressing the Marathi-speaking population in their language only during campaigning for elections,” the MNS leader added while referring to Modi’a attempt to speak in local dialects and invoke local personalities while campaigning in different parts of Maharashtra ahead of assembly elections.
The Raj Thackeray-led MNS has always been pushing for more prominence to Marathi language, especially in Maharashtra, by insisting on measures such as giving auto-rickshaw permits only to Marathi-speaking persons, and displaying signboards of shops and restaurants in Marathi. Struggling to stay afloat after consistent electoral downfalls, party leaders are trying to be shriller in making their presence felt.