Just a few days ago, Prime Minister Modi, in his interview to Indian Express had slammed the ‘Khan Market gang’. He said that his image was not made by the Khan Market gang or the Lutyens Delhi to be dismantled so easily.
Taking on Rahul Gandhi’s campaign strategy which was to destroy Modi’s incorruptible image, PM Modi said, “Modi ki chhavi, Delhi ke Khan Market ke gang ne nahin banayi hai, Lutyens Delhi ne nahin banayi hai. 45 saal ki Modi ki tapasya ne chhavi banayi hai. Achchi hai ya buri hai. (Modi’s image, whether good or bad, has not been made by the Khan Market gang or the Lutyens Delhi. It has been built by hard work of over 45years.) You cannot dismantle it.”
Since Prime Minister dismantled the claim that his image was being destroyed by Rahul Gandhi, the media had to come up with an alternate narrative. And fast.
Economic Times stepped up to the challenge and decided to go provoke the traders and merchants of Khan Market against Prime Minister Modi.
The Economic Times actually approached the traders and merchants of Khan Market in the hope that they would say they have taken offence to PM Modi’s reference to the ‘Khan Market gang’. The media hoped that the merchants of Khan Market would not understand what the Prime Minister meant when he spoke of the ‘Khan Market gang’ and view this comment as an insult to the traders of the upscale market.
Interestingly, the response that was received by ET was rather telling. The paper quotes a merchant, Sanjiv Mehra of Allied Stores at Khan Market, saying that “He was not referring to the shopkeepers and the customers of Khan Market when he spoke about the Khan Market gang”.
Another shopkeeper who wished to be kept anonymous said, “In the last five to seven years, Khan Market has become famous for political brokers who sit in the cafes in the market – that is what the prime minister was referring to, not shopkeepers”.
Much to the chagrin of the Media, the traders of Khan Market and voters, in general, are maturing to the media tactics and understand exactly what political statements mean. It is becoming increasingly difficult for the media to twist words and mislead people into getting the reaction they truly desire.
From the statements of the two shopkeepers quotes by Economic Times, it is evident that the journalist from ET went there to provoke the merchants into saying something against the Prime Minister. The journalist hoped that the shopkeepers would not understand the PM meant the quintessential political elite, journalist and power brokers who haunt the cafes of Khan Market. But the shopkeepers were wiser.
In fact, the ET was so desperate to twist the narrative around on this statement, that they even approached the Khan Market Traders’ Association, who refused to comment on this media circus.
Prime Minister seems to have hit where it hurts the most. Rahul Gandhi has been hailed as the messiah who can dismantle Modi’s incorruptible image. This also seems to be the reason that the media has shied away from asking Rahul Gandhi any pertinent questions. In all his interviews, Rahul hasn’t been asked about the corruption cases against him. In fact, he hasn’t even been asked to justify his allegations and the outlandish numbers he keeps throwing about every now and then.
With his recent comment, PM Modi not only ensures that the media gets a message but also indicate that Rahul Gandhi is the typical political elite who is disconnected from the masses. He, Modi indicated, cannot dismantle his image because brand Modi has been made by the people, not the political elite like Rahul Gandhi. This media, by trying to provoke Khan Market shopkeepers tried to change the narrative back to how people are perhaps moving towards Rahul Gandhi politically, only to get a befitting response.