Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s acceptance of a “fitness challenge” posed by Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli quickly took political overtones today as a host of opposition leaders dared him to tackle challenges of unemployment and security with Congress chief Rahul Gandhi leading the charge by asking him to reduce oil prices or face a nationwide agitation.
One leader took a dig at Modi over his educational qualifications and dared him to post his degrees on Twitter.
While Gandhi dared the Prime Minister to take the ‘fuel challenge’ by reducing fuel prices, saying the Congress will otherwise launch a nationwide stir, the party's communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala asked him to tackle challenges pertaining to national security, jobs, corruption and MSP to farmers.
The initiative, called the ‘Hum Fit Toh India Fit’ challenge, was started by Sports Minister Rajavardhan Singh Rathore, who posted a short video of himself on Tuesday doing push-ups. He tagged Kohli, shuttler Saina Nehwal and actor Hrithik Roshan in the video, challenging them to post their own exercise videos.
Accepting the challenge from Rathore, Kohli had last evening extended it further to his wife and actress Anushka, Prime Minister Modi and cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
In the morning, Modi accepted Kohli's challenge in a tweet and said, “...I will be sharing my own fitness challenge video soon.”
Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav said before taking up the fitness challenge Modi should first dare to fill empty stomachs and provide jobs to the unemployed in the country. The former deputy chief minister of Bihar also asked Modi if he can promise “no violence against Dalits and minorities”.
CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury also tweeted using ‘just jumlas’ as hashtag, “Modi's tryst with crude prices should remind us of that old dictum: 'You know who is swimming naked when the tide runs out.’”
Rebel Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav reminded the Prime Minister of his ‘promise’ to bring back black money stashed abroad asking him to deposit Rs 15-20 lakh in the accounts of every Indian.
Congress Spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi posed a "Tuticorn challenge" to Modi saying fitness challenges has priority enough in his mind, "but unfortunately the Prime Minister, Government of India, ruling party president you are all running on a treadmill but not getting anywhere.”
His party colleague Shashi Tharoor posed a "compassion challenge" to Modi while referring to the killing of 11 people in police firing as they were protesting against a project in Tamil Nadu's Tuticorin.
Congress leader Sanjay Jha challenged him to tweet his degrees after he tweeted his on the social networking site.
Surjewala said, "Please accept the fitness challenge to restore the economic fitness of common man by reducing the ruaway prices of petrol/diesel as you fleeced Rs 10 lakh crore in 4 years by raising exise 11 times. Restore the job fitness of young by giving 2 crore jobs as promised." He also asked the PM to take up the challenge of national security fitness by stopping Pak-sponsored terrorism and Chinese incursion in Doklam, next to the Arunanchal border and elsewhere.