aking strong offence to PM Modi’s remark that the infant mortality rate among Scheduled Tribes in Kerala is even worse than Somalia, the United Arab Emirates has issued a travel ban on him and has suspended talks with India, until he apologizes.
Speaking to The UnReal Times, UAE PM Sheikh Mohammed termed his Indian counterpart’s remarks outrageous and added that an apology was in order. “Enda mone idhu?! Ee manushyane kondu njan thotallo!” [What is this, man? I’ve had it, with this chap!] the visibly exasperated PM cried. “By comparing Kerala with Somalia, whether he has hurt the sentiments of Keralites or not, he has definitely hurt the sentiments of us here in Dubai. Enikku idha sahikaam pattila mone! Idhu sherikyum valare moshamaytundu, ketto?! [I can’t tolerate this, this is too bad, okay?] I’m pretty sure that our brothers and sisters in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and everywhere else in the gulf are equally offended and you’re soon likely to see travel bans from those chaps as well,” the PM added.
Sources at the PMO said that the officials have been totally taken aback by UAE’s decision. “Right now, it’s just the UAE. Add the other gulf countries and that’s 40% of the PM’s itinerary gone in one shot. Those cancelled trips will amount to almost a month or two. The PM’s gotta find some work to do to fully utilize the time gained. Tough challenge, this,” an official said, on the condition of anonymity. Sources in the external affairs ministry added that EAM Sushma Swaraj has called upon the party’s newly nominated Rajya Sabha MP Suresh Gopi to fly to Dubai as soon as possible and make amends.
The Congress party came down hard on the PM, with an angry Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor exclaiming, “How arduous can it get? For the benefit of PM Modi and millions of other Indians, Rajiv Gandhi discovered the computer. All the PM has to do is use one and see the facts for himself!” before moving on to attacking the CPM in Kerala and lavishing praise on it in West Bengal.
Meanwhile, the CPIM launched strong protests against the PM, with party chief Sitaram Yechury and JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar announcing that they would fly all the way to Somalia to prove him wrong. “I just booked business class tickets for both of us using my iPhone. We want azaadi for Somalia from comparisons with any other place on earth,” Kanhaiya said, before adding that he wasn’t authorized to name the airline they were flying by.
While the PMO hasn’t yet formulated a plan of course correction, Kerala BJP candidate Sreesanth has volunteered to help. The former Indian speedster reportedly told the PM that he would flash a towel as an indication whenever the PM makes any factual mistakes in future rallies in God’s own country.