A video of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech to the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Monday had kicked up a controversy and became a fodder for memes.
During his speech, Modi stopped abruptly, looked to his left side repeatedly and then asked Klaus Schwab, executive chairman of the WEF, whether his speech and his interpreter's voice could be heard properly. The broadcast had to be stopped for some time before Modi resumed his address from the beginning.
Social media users took note of this and hashtag #TeleprompterPM started trending on Twitter. Many attributed the interruption to a teleprompter glitch. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted on Tuesday: “Even teleprompter could not bear such lies”. Rahul had previously attacked Modi over his allegedly choreographed speeches.
What really happened?
It is now clear that the interruption was not caused by a technical glitch, but a communication gap. Modi had started his speech before Schwab formally welcomed him.
The speech started airing on Modi's YouTube channel, but did not go live on the WEF’s YouTube channel then. As Modi began speaking, a member of his team alerted him that the formal welcome was not over. Someone can be heard telling the PM to ask this through the microphone, after which Modi is seen connecting his earphone and asking organisers if he is audible. After the confusion was sorted, Schwab introduced Modi again, following which the PM began the speech anew.