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Is Modi ready to face his biggest #FitnessChallenge in 2019 Lok Sabha elections?


New Delhi, May 24: Social media is going "aww" over the viral #FitnessChallenge, and rightly so.

The intention of the man behind the #FitnessChallenge, Union minister and winner of Olympic silver medalist in shooting, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, is undoubtedly genuine--to inspire India to become physically fit and healthy.


A few days ago, Rathore, who is looking after the sports and information and broadcasting ministries, started the fitness challenge campaign --#HumFitTohIndiaFit--which immediately went viral on social media.

Tweeting about the campaign, the 48-year-old minister posted a video of himself where he was seen doing push-ups on the floor of his office. The minister said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi inspires him because of his energy. He added that the PM wants the whole country to be fit and healthy so he decided to throw the fitness challenge to one and all.

The army officer-turned-politician challenged cricketer Virat Kohli, badminton champion Saina Nehwal and Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan to post their fitness videos. All of them immediately accepted the challenge, as we all know all three are as fit as the minister himself.

Along with Kohli, Nehwal and Roshan, other celebrities, including sportspersons, actors and socialites, joined the fitness movement as they filmed their daily exercise regime and posted them on Twitter.

In the entire #FitnessChallenge exercise, the most interesting episode happened when captain of India's cricket team, Kohli, decided to "challenge" PM Modi to post his "fitness" video to show the world how physically competent the "head" of India is.

Our PM, who is a well-known yoga enthusiast, did not think twice before agreeing to take up Kohli's challenge.

"Challenge accepted, Virat! I will be sharing my own #FitnessChallenge video soon. @imVkohli #HumFitTohIndiaFit," PM Modi wrote on Twitter.

There is no doubt that in a few days (or a few hours from now) we will get to see Modi, who likes to work 24X7 minus any vacation or rest, unlike Congress president Rahul Gandhi (infamous for his earlier disappearances to foreign locales), doing some tough exercises or yoga asanas (poses) and again inspire all to be fit, energetic and healthy like him.

However, the real #FitnessChallenge for PM Modi is not the one thrown to him by Kohli. But it is the big 2019 General Elections likely to take place around April-May next year.

Will Modi be able to clear the challenge and emerge winner, once again? This time, Modi, unlike in 2014, when the entire nation was tired by the then "corrupt" Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre and was desperately looking for a change, himself is facing severe criticism over various issues, including prices of fuels reaching an all-time high, lack of job opportunities, rise in the numbers of rapes and murders of women/girls, mob lynching of Muslims and Dalits, saffronisation of educational institutions and subversion of judiciary by the ruling regime at the Centre, to name a few.

It is interesting to note that PM Modi, who generally likes to keep mum whenever the nation faces a serious challenge, quickly replied to Kohli's tweet. Perhaps that is why the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)--the two staunch Modi-hating parties--criticised him for taking up the fitness challenge.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala in a series of tweets asked the PM to first accept "fitness challenge" on job, economy and national security of the country.

In a similar critical tweet, RJD's Tejashwi Yadav asked the PM to "accept the challenge to provide jobs to young, relief to farmers, promise of no violence against Dalits and minorities." "Would you accept my challenge @narendramodi Sir?" Yadav asked.

The Opposition's attack against Modi for accepting Kohli's challenge has come just a day after the "anti-BJP forces" stood together during the swearing-in ceremony of Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy in Bengaluru on Wednesday.

All the opposition parties, mostly the regional ones, are trying to come together to fight against the BJP in the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Perhaps, it is time for Modi to accept the real challenges, because sometimes it is fine not to hit the gym and instead attend to the most pressing issue at hand.

After all, the PM's first job is to check whether the nation's "vital signs" are working well or not. Once the country's "health parameters" are satisfactory, he can sit in his famous meditation pose and flaunt his equally famous "56-inch" chest.

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