New Delhi: After an apparent malfunctioning of his tele-prompter, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had to pause the virtual address during the World Economic Forum, leading to several embarrassing seconds at the international conference last evening.
In the video emerged, PM Modi can be seen in the video looking sideways at his team questioningly, then fumble with his earpiece. He then looks downcast before recovering his composure and ask whether his voice was still being heard by participants. When he is assured that there was nothing wrong with the audio, the PM asks if his interpreter’s voice is clear. The WEF paused the broadcast for several minutes before announcing the Prime Minister of India, to resume his address from the beginning.
I won't make any fun of this gaffe…
But do note, Modi is representing India at #WEF, what just happened is a national embarassment.
— Maanmohan Singh Pahujaa (@msgpahujaa) January 17, 2022
The hashtag #TeleprompterPM trended on Twitter with people questioning the PM’s reputation for oratory, and even his dissent towards press meets. The impression that he couldn’t continue speaking without the teleprompter even for a few minutes, led to some harsh trolling of the Prime Minister. For once the PM was at the receiving end, since it is he who has a reputation for trolling rivals for such reasons.
Teleprompter is the reason for ZERO press conference.#TeleprompterPM
— J&K Congress (@INCJammuKashmir) January 17, 2022
However, doubts about a teleprompter gaffe were voiced by several, including Pratik Sinha and Md Zubair of fact checking website AltNews. In the video shared by them technician is heard requesting the PM to ask if everyone is connected. ‘It is unlikely that PM had a teleprompter gaffe. If you look at the WEF version of the recording of his speech, someone in the background says, ‘Sir aap unse ek baar pooche ki sab jud gaye kya’. This portion is not clear in the video live-streamed on PM’s YouTube channel, Pratik Sinha tweeted.
Here is WEF version of PM Modi's speech, someone in the background says, "Sir aap unse ek baar poochen, ki sab jud gaye kya?".
Doesn't look like it's teleprompter issue. Later in his 20 min speech, He doesn't look sideways. TP could be at the front.pic.twitter.com/zVUqhEU5rH
— Mohammed Zubair (@zoo_bear) January 17, 2022
While the opposition parties took it as a catch for recalling Congress MP Rahul Gandhi’s statement that PM Modi cannot speak for two minutes without a teleprompter, BJP and Modi supporters indignantly defended the goof up by claiming that the glitch was at the end of the WEF.
— Ankit Mayank (@mr_mayank) January 17, 2022
— Vinay Kumar Dokania (@VinayDokania) January 17, 2022
What made matter worse for Modi was the fact that his speech was being simultaneously translated into English, Arabic, French, Hindi, Mandarin Chinese, Russian and Spanish. This meant that the embarrassment of not being able to continue his speech due to the teleprompter malfunction was shared by hundreds of international audience members. The tweets on the micro-blogging platform evidently shows how the Prime Minister’s image of being a ‘good orator’ got banjaxed with a technical glitch during a crucial international speech.