New Delhi, June 13: Does the health of a nation depend on the physical fitness of its leaders? Definitely not. While being physically fit is an added advantage for any politician (for that matter for anyone and everyone), but to suddenly forget about all the problems plaguing the nation and concentrate all energies on being 'fit and hit' definitely smacks of misplaced priorities of any government.
At a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is maintaining his infamous "maun" (silence) over steep hike in fuel prices, lack of jobs, spread of hatred through social media leading to lynching of innocent people and rise in rape cases to name a few, on Wednesday morning he posted his #FitnessChallenge video shot in an undisclosed salubrious location on Twitter.
Modi's video was in reply to a challenge he had gladly accepted from cricketer Virat Kohli in May. In the video, Modi in a black kurti and a pajama with a white-red gamcha (scarf) around his neck was seen doing some "inspiring" yoga asanas (poses).
He was also barefoot to enjoy his walk on the green lanes and water bodies. As Modi rightly described in his tweet, it was "extremely refreshing and rejuvenating" to see the head of the country doing some breathing exercises amid greenery and chirping birds in an exquisitely shot video.
There was also a statue of Buddha in the garden where he did yoga "inspired by panchtatvas or five elements of nature--Prithvi, Jal, Agni, Vayu, Aakash."
Here are moments from my morning exercises. Apart from Yoga, I walk on a track inspired by the Panchtatvas or 5 elements of nature - Prithvi, Jal, Agni, Vayu, Aakash. This is extremely refreshing and rejuvenating. I also practice— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 13, 2018
breathing exercises. #HumFitTohIndiaFit pic.twitter.com/km3345GuV2
Thereafter, he also posted two tweets appealing "every Indian to devote some part of the day towards fitness." It was the second tweet of the day on fitness where he dared Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy to take up the #FitnessChallenge that attracted maximum eyeballs.
I am delighted to nominate the following for the #FitnessChallenge:— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 13, 2018
Karnataka’s CM Shri @hd_kumaraswamy.
India’s pride and among the highest medal winners for India in the 2018 CWG, @manikabatra_TT.
The entire fraternity of brave IPS officers, especially those above 40.
I appeal to every Indian to devote some part of the day towards fitness.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 13, 2018
Practice any set of exercises you are comfortable with and you will see the positive difference it will make in your life! #FitnessChallenge #HumFitTohIndiaFit https://t.co/yuHN6871pk
Replying to the 'cheeky' tweet by Modi, Karnataka CM in a way refused to post his exercise video on social media and instead told the PM that he was "more concerned about the development fitness of my state". He also sought Modi's help to develop Karnataka.
Dear @narendramodi ji— CM of Karnataka (@CMofKarnataka) June 13, 2018
I am honoured& thankU very much for d concern about my health
I believe physical fitness is imptnt for all&support d cause. Yoga-treadmill r part of my daily workout regime.
Yet, I am more concerned about devlpment fitness of my state&seek ur support for it.
The 'fitness battle' between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) alliance was the talk of the nation a few weeks ago after the Karnataka Assembly election results threw up a fractured mandate. As of now, the coalition partners have won the embittered battle in the southern state.
The tweet by Modi addressed to Kumaraswamy was quickly read by many as an indirect challenge the PM posed to the CM to successfully run the coalition government in Karnataka which is still struggling to distribute all the cabinet berths among the disgruntled leaders.
Moreover, as Kumaraswamy is "fat" many thought Modi insulted the CM with his tweet.
Amid all the hullabaloo surrounding the #FitnessChallenge started by Union minister and winner of Olympic silver medalist in shooting, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, in May, all those BJP ministers (including the ones with fat bellies) busy posting their exercise videos on social media have forgotten that with just a few months in their hands before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections they first need to attend to the health of the nation.
Earlier, when Modi had accepted Kohli's fitness challenge, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had dared the PM to accept a "fuel challenge", asking him to reduce the spiralling fuel prices or face a nationwide stir by his party.
Dear PM,— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) May 24, 2018
Glad to see you accept the @imVkohli fitness challenge. Here’s one from me:
Reduce Fuel prices or the Congress will do a nationwide agitation and force you to do so.
I look forward to your response.#FuelChallenge
After the PM posted his #FitnessChallenge video, social media erupted with multiple views--some lauded Modi for inspiring India to be healthy, others asked him to work on the "fitness" of the economy and the country in general, and a few fun-loving ones simply cracked some hilarious jokes over challenges and overcoming them in difficult times.
You are forever inspiring sir. You always teach something new. May God give you a long and healthy life. Your fitness and hard work will inspire generations 🙏 #HumFitTohIndiaFit#FitnessChallenge https://t.co/SjJDGC50p0— Manak Gupta (@manakgupta) June 13, 2018
PM Modi's #FitnessChallenge is nothing but to distract people & media attention from #BadHealth of Indian economy, high inflation, every day attacks on our soldiers , dying Farmers , Very day rape of our daughters ....— Alka Lamba (@LambaAlka) June 13, 2018
मेरे देश की हालत खराब हो तो मेरी हालत कैसे ठीक हो सकती है?
I'm expecting HD Kumaraswamy to accept Modi's #FitnessChallenge and respond with a video of him doing pull-ups, with outside support from the Congress.— Ramesh Srivats (@rameshsrivats) June 13, 2018