Trust Narendra Modi to set the terms of the debate. As I have argued earlier in these columns, the prime minister is a master communicator adept at shaping the narrative. So it is that during an election rally on Saturday he applauded Karan Acharya — the Mangaluru-based graphic artist whose stylised version of Hanuman has become ubiquitous in India — for his creativity and talent. But Modi didn’t stop there. He went on to criticise the Congress and its “ecosystem” for dragging the young artist’s creation into controversy.
“I want to applaud artist Karan Acharya whose image of Hanuman ji has become wildly popular across the country and has set a trend. He deserves high praise for his creativity. I noticed all TV channels have queued up for his interview. This is the triumph of his art, talent and imagination. He is the pride of Mangaluru,” Modi said during a rally at Nehru Maidan, adding a swipe: “However, there are some who seem to be very uncomfortable with the turn of events”.
“The Congress’ ecosystem cannot tolerate even the magnificent art of Karan Acharya whose Hanuman ji has captured the country’s imagination. Unable to digest its popularity, the Congress tried miring it in a controversy and defaming it. There is not an iota of democracy in the minds of the Congress members… Such a party does not deserve to rule Karnataka even for a day more,” he said.