Maharashtra has so far clocked the highest number of positive Coronavirus cases including the number of deaths in the state. Amidst allegations of mismanagement by an inexperienced first-time Chief Minister, a marketing campaign was launched to show how CM Uddhav Thackeray was the best Chief Minister and was handling the pandemic rather effectively. While the suspicions about the PR campaign for Uddhav Thackeray were just about gaining wind, a tweet by actress and model Urvashi Rautela has given fuel to those speculations.
Hindustan Times in a recent fluff piece wrote how Urvashi Rautela was a habitual plagiarist when it came to tweeting on the micro-blogging website. The article said that she regularly ‘steals tweets’ from actor Sidharth Malhotra.
The article said: Actor Urvashi Rautela has definitely not learnt her lesson. After being called out by a US writer for copy-pasting his tweet about Parasite movie, she has once again plagiarised someone’s tweet. This time, Urvashi stole actor Sidharth Malhotra’s appreciation tweet for the Mumbai Police for implementing the coronavirus lockdown. “This is the time to heartily thank our Mumbai police, who are leaving their families at home & working with their high spirit and untiring efforts for our security and safety.. You guys are the real heroes #ThankYouMumbaiPolice,” Sidharth had written in his tweet.
The tweets being referred to by the Hindustan Times article were contributing to a hashtag on Twitter, #ThankYouMumbaiPolice. A hashtag under which several Bollywood celebrities had tweeted.
In the “original tweet” by Siddharth Malhotra which was posted on the 9th of April, Siddharth wrote, “This is the time to heartily thank our Mumbai police, who are leaving their families at home & working with their high spirit and untiring efforts for our security and safety.. You guys are the real heroes”.
The “copied tweet” by Urvashi Rautela was on the same lines, contributing to the hashtag #ThankYouMumbaiPolice.
She wrote, “This is the time to heartily thank our @MumbaiPolice & Maharastra police, who leaving their families at homes are working with their high spirit and untiring efforts for our security and safety”.
The Hindustan Times reported that “Urvashi omitted just one line from the tweet and copied the rest of it, even the hashtags. “This is the time to heartily thank our @MumbaiPolice & Maharastra police, who leaving their families at homes are working with their high spirit and untiring efforts for our security and safety..#ThankYouMumbaiPolice#ThankYouMaharasthraPolice,” she wrote. A Twitter user called her out saying, “Please don’t copy paste Twitter messages , be original.””
This report did not go down well with Urvashi and she tweeted her passionate rebuttal to it. However, in an almost Freudian slip, she may have ended up revealing the coordinated campaign that was launched in Maharashtra.
Urvashi tweeted, “Oh really @htTweets we think its high time ! You guys should better focus on better content rather than focusing on her. Also it was a same tweet provided by @MumbaiPolice to @UrvashiRautela & @SidMalhotra which they had to post. No one copied anyone !!!!! Peace”
The tweet read that it was the “same tweet” which was “provided” to “her and Siddharth Malhotra” to tweet and hence, “nobody copied anyone”. She also said that the tweet which was “provided” was by Mumbai Police.
Judging from her tweet, it would appear that the Mumbai Police has launched a PR campaign roping in Bollywood actors and actresses to play up their image and Maharashtra becomes the state with the most Coronavirus positive cases and the allegations of mismanagement against the Uddhav Thackeray government have been mounting.
Earlier, Bollywood celebrities were accused to be doing paid tweets for Uddhav Thackeray too, though that cannot be confirmed by OpIndia independently. Urvashi’s latest tweet, while it confirms that it’s a coordinated campaign, doesn’t clarify if it’s paid or not.
There were several people who raised questions on this coordinated campaign by the Mumbai Police as the Coronavirus pandemic gripped the state. One said that at this time, Mumbai Police should be focussing all their resources on fighting the pandemic, not going PR for themselves.
Sad story! When @OfficeofUT & @MumbaiPolice should have all their hands on deck2fight #CoronavirusPandemic #CoronaOutbreak in #Mumbai & #Maharashtra , it's a pity that the police is working as a PR for @CMOMaharashtra No wonder the state is not able2control the spread of virus.— Raju (@nbrengaraju) April 10, 2020
Another Twitter user called @UttamPatel also tweeted that the PR tweets were provided not just to Urvashi and Siddharth but many other Bollywood celebrities too.
Not only @UrvashiRautela & @SidMalhotra ,it was provided to @arjunk26 ,@AnilKapoor and many others 😂@htshowbiz who generally act as paid PR agency for many bollywodians, r frustrated&jelous that they didnt get chosen to do this tweet by @MumbaiPolice pic.twitter.com/juLYospJlL— Dessie Aussie (@uttampatel) April 10, 2020
The Coronavirus pandemic has turned everyone’s world upside-down. Other than being a pandemic and the obvious ramifications that come with the world grappling with millions affected and thousands dead, what the pandemic has revealed, however, are the hits and misses of our system of governance. Essentially, in a country of 1.3 Billion people, controlling a pandemic like this can be a near impossibility at worst, a nightmare at best. Amidst the chaos, the central government showed remarkable alacrity in its quest to control the virus. The sheer resilience of the medical workers, essential services personnel and the police force, that India often likes to criticise, rose to the occasion. In fact, until the Tablighi Jamaat case blew up, it almost seemed like India was fighting the pandemic with far more ease than the other countries. Even after the Tablighi Jamaat cases exploded, the decisiveness with which the central government and the state governments have acted in tracking, quarantining and testing, gives one immense hope.
However, in such dark times, while the collective mettle of a nation is tested, it is the gravity of leaders that is tested the most.
Earlier, a PR campaign was launched to show how “well” Uddhav Thackeray was handling the pandemic despite several missteps and mistakes that made Maharashtra the state with high Coronavirus cases in India.