A visibly emotional Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a hard time finding the right words to pay tribute to the tens of thousands of Indians who have lost their lives fighting coronavirus, as he thanked frontline workers during a video conference with health personnel in Varanasi, his parliamentary constituency in Uttar Pradesh.
"This virus has ... snatched many loved ones from us. I pay my humble tribute to them and I express my condolences to the families who lost people", Modi said taking long pauses, gulping in air and trying to hold back tears.
A video of the teary-eyed Modi went viral within minutes.
"कोरोना वायरस ने हमारे कई अपनों को हमसे छीना है। मैं उन सभी लोगों को अपनी श्रद्धांजलि देता हूं, उनके परिजनों के प्रति सांत्वना व्यक्त करता हूं।"— BJP (@BJP4India) May 21, 2021
कोरोना के कारण जान गंवाने वालों को श्रद्धांजलि देते हुए प्रधानमंत्री श्री नरेन्द्र मोदी भावुक हो गए। pic.twitter.com/UqTp8JzAAy
Some Indians, who have been brutally criticising the Modi government over its percieved ill-preparedness and mismanagement of the second COVID wave, called out the prime minister for pulling off a theatrical drama before the public.
Slamming Prime Minister Modi for shedding "crocodile tears", some netizens noted that he and his party were involved in organising massive public rallies in four states and one union territory during legislative assembly polls held between March and May.
Many Indians also mocked the PM, suggesting he should be nominated for an Oscar.
From "Didi o Didi" to "I am very happy to see huge crowds in Bengal" to now crying remembering COVID deaths.— Srivatsa (@srivatsayb) May 21, 2021
Modi, you are directly responsible for lakhs of Indians dying.
Your crocodile tears won't bring back loved ones who died gasping for breath.
RESIGN & spare us the DRAMA
I knew he will pull of this drama of shedding tears sooner or later. Modi is today pretending to be crying for people who died when he was busy with election rallies, gloating over huge gathering of crowds. https://t.co/QJ7TLrVijj— Gaurav Pandhi (@GauravPandhi) May 21, 2021
What's wrong with me ? Everytime I see Narendra Modi getting emotional or crying the only imagine come to my is that of a crocodile !— Sanwar Nath (@Sanwarnathsidh) May 21, 2021
Modi tried a lot fóR crying,bt failed— 𝓂𝓸𝓱𝐝 𝓈Ⓗ𝔸Ď🇵🇸(محمد شاد) (@Mr_shaD0) May 21, 2021
Sometimes acting doesn't work 🤣
Bt phir bhi nominate Modi ji for Oscar..😂🤣 pic.twitter.com/AaINqtE8Js
Modi tried crying while infront of the nation. He failed at that too!— Tanishqq Puunjabi (@saktsindhi) May 21, 2021
India confirmed 259,591 new cases of the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, with the total number of those infected having reached 26,031,991. The public has been infuriated with the Modi government since the outbreak of the second COVID-19 wave, especially after the daily death toll crossed 4,000, with many accusing the BJP of failing to tackle the crisis.
Prime Minister Modi's government also drew much flak for letting Hindu devotees gather for a religious congregation, Kumbh Mela, in Haridwar, with photos and videos of hundreds of people bathing in the holy Ganges River as part of the festival going viral on social media. The Kumbh gathering was criticised as a superspreader event after thousands of attendees tested positive for coronavirus.