28-year-old Madhur Singh, popularly known as The Placard Guy on social media, has been on a mission. He is trying to raise voter awareness and asking people to vote for Modi in the ongoing general elections. Except, there’s a twist.
In Delhi’s sweltering heat, Madhur went on a Delhi darshan or sort where he stood outside various buildings and landmarks, many of which have political significance, with a placard which read ‘Do vote for Modi’. OpIndia got in touch with Madhur to know more about Singh and the campaign.
Born in Agra, Singh moved to Delhi with his family when he was 9. Last year, when the Bollywood jumped on to the placard brigade following the gruesome rape and murder of the little girl in Kathua, Singh held a counter placard calling out the propaganda.
When he was standing with the ‘Do Vote For Modi’ placard outside JNU campus, he says a couple approached him and requested if they could also hold the placard and get their pictured clicked. Turns out, they were JNU students and after getting their pictures clicked, they went back inside the campus. “Yahan kuch deshbhakt bhi padhte hai (some nationalists also study here),” Singh tells OpIndia.
India Gate, along with Jantar Mantar has been a site for various protest which have shaken up the governments. Singh is standing with the ‘Do Vote For Modi’ placard at India Gate, which also happens to be a very popular tourist destination.
Propagandist masquerading as a comedian Kunal Kamra recently decided to let his followers know that they should not vote for Modi. He then stood outside Antilla, Reliance chief Mukesh Ambani’s residence in Mumbai with a placard that read ‘Don’t vote for Modi’ and put it up on social media. In response, Madhur took it upon himself to give people a reason or more to vote for Modi.
“Yes, my campaign was more about busting Kunal Kamra’s political propaganda of hate towards Narendra Modi. Kunal Kamra appealed to his followers to not vote for Modi without giving any valid reason. He, of course, has a huge following so there were chances of him influencing the youth. Therefore I thought of countering his propaganda by appealing public to vote for Modi and I gave reasons as well which anyone can understand by the locations I chose to be clicked at,” Singh says.
The Herald House was reportedly being used for commercial renting and not for publishing the newspaper. It was leased to Associated Journals Ltd. (AJL) in the 1950s for nominal prices. AJL publishes Congress’ mouthpiece National Herald. Last year, the central government had sent a legal order to National Herald publishers to vacate the premises allotted to them at Press Enclave called the ‘Herald House’. The land at the prime location was reportedly allocated to National Herald at nominal rates for the publication of the newspaper. However, an investigation revealed that the building is rented out and no publication activity was going on.
Singh says there were quite a few curious onlookers, especially at places like the Red Fort, JNU and outside the offices of The Print, Times of India. “When people saw my placard and read what it says, most of them smiled and gave me thumbs up. Some even came to appreciate me and my team for holding such Placards in this scorching heat. chose Herald house and Commonwealth Games village to show the huge corruptions past Congress governments have been a part of,” he says.
The 2010 Commonwealth Games hosted by India were mired in controversies and allegations of large scale corruption including but not limited to serious corruption by officials of the Games’ Organising Committee, delays in the construction of main Games’ venues, infrastructural compromise, possibility of a terrorist attack, and exceptionally poor ticket sales before the event. During the construction of the Games Village, there was controversy over financial irregularities, alleged profiteering by the Delhi Development Authority and private real estate companies, and poor working conditions.
“I chose Print/Times of India to show that these media houses are not doing justice to journalism by propagating anti-Modi narratives,” Singh says. He alleges that been recently attacked by Congress workers near Darya Ganj, Delhi, for putting a “Modi Once More” sticker on his car. He also wanted to click a picture with the above placard outside 10, Janpath (Sonia Gandhi’s residence), 12, Tughlaq Lane (Rahul Gandhi’s residence) and 24, Akbar Road (Congress headquarters), but he was not allowed to click pictures by security personnel.
“Nobody misbehaved except of security personnels who did not let me click pictures in front of 10, Janpath or 12, Tughlaq Lane which are residents of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. I did try to click pictures outside 24 Akbar Road, Congress headquarters, but some Congress workers noticed my placards and told me to shoot elsewhere. I agreed because I knew they were capable of being violent,” Singh said.
Singh parts off with the final message behind his entire exercise by finally posing outside the BJP headquarters.