On the last day of the campaigning for Lok Sabha elections, BJP president Amit Shah addressed the press at BJP headquarters in Delhi, where PM Modi was also present. The event started with Amit Shah addressing the journalists present, where he expressed confidence that BJP will win more than 300 seats. After the Amit Shah, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke for few minutes.
— BJP (@BJP4India) May 17, 2019
After both the speeches, journalists started asking questions which were answered by Amit Shah. Although many people were expecting that PM Modi will also take questions, that did not happen. That lead to many journalists and politicians mocking PM Modi on social media by saying that it must be the first press conference of a Prime Minister when the PM did not answer any question.
I can’t believe it but Modi’s first press conference as prime minister on Indian soil ended without him fielding a single question. Amit Shah answered everything. Then they got up and left. Remarkable.
— Iain Marlow (@iainmarlow) May 17, 2019
After making opening remarks, PM has not taken any question in his first #pressconference yet. Amit Shah is answering instead even when journalists have directed the question at the PM.
— Niha Masih (@NihaMasih) May 17, 2019
First time in 70 years. A press conference by the Prime Minister where no questions were taken by him.
— Rohini Singh (@rohini_sgh) May 17, 2019
So far, only Amit Shah answering questions at press conference. PM redirects questions to the party president, sitting quietly next to Shah on stage
— Nidhi Razdan (@Nidhi) May 17, 2019
What is going on ? Was this not supposed to be a press conference the hon PM addresses ? He did Maan Ki Baat & is now sitting as a prop for Amit Shah ji. No questions to PM !!
— Tehseen Poonawalla (@tehseenp) May 17, 2019
PM muzzled by Amit Shah in his press conference. Not allowed to speak? We want to listen to the PM please.
— vijaita singh (@vijaita) May 17, 2019
Most journalists assumed that it was a press conference by prime minister, and the same was reported by media also. Hence when they saw that it was Amit Shah who was taking questions and not Narendra Modi, they started mocking the PM, saying that he is afraid of taking questions.
But the fact is, all of them missed the crucial detail of the event, it was BJP President Amit Shah’s press conference where the PM was also present, and not a PM’s press conference. In fact, when a question was directed at the PM, he had passed that to Amit Shah, saying as a disciplined soldier of the party, he won’t speak in front of the president. By this, he had clearly indicated that he was merely present at the press conference, but it was a press conference of the BJP president, and the prime minister was present there as a BJP member.
It must be remembered that the press conference was held at BJP headquarters, not at a government venue. While earlier press conferences by prime ministers were held at government venues, not party head offices. For example, previous prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh had addressed press conferences at Vigyan Bhawan in 2010 and National Media Centre in 2014, he didn’t answer questions in Congress headquarters.
Therefore, first the journalists and opposition leaders mistook a BJP’s press conference to be Modi government’s press conference, and then accused Modi of being afraid of taking questions.