Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the two boys Avi and Jai
Two Gujarati brothers, one in ninth grade and the other in sixth, are suddenly centre stage in a rather unlikely arena for juveniles – politics – and it is none other than the Prime Minister who has now spoken about the duo, barely days after opposition Congress raised a complaint with the Election Commission (EC), alleging “misuse of children in politics”.
Last Friday, Congress had filed a complaint with the EC over a video of the Prime Minister with a girl, who was seen making a speech in favour of ruling BJP in Gujarat.
The latest video shows PM Narendra Modi in conversation with brothers Avi and Jai, reportedly from a tribal background and orphaned six years ago.
Sharing their details, Mr Modi, while addressing an election rally in Netrang, said he was late because he had to meet two orphan boys whose lives were changed for the better because of the initiatives taken by his government.
“These two boys were only eight and six years old when they lost their parents six year ago. With no one to care for them, they were looking after each other,” the Prime Minister said.
“When I came across their details, I asked our party member CR Patil to help them out. We arranged for their education and also got them a home,” Mr Modi said.
“Today when I see these boys, who wish to become a [district] collector and an engineer, my heart swells with pride,” he added.
The Prime Minister further said: “Even in the absence of their parents and without a shelter of their own, if these boys can dream big, they only make me feel inspired.”
Tweeting a video of the Prime Minister speaking about the two boys at an election rally, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel said: “Listen to the touching story of the struggle of children named Avi and Jai from the mouth of Hon’ble Prime Minister.”
Gujarat state BJP president CR Patil said the Prime Minister was worried about the wellbeing of these two children, when he first came to know about them, six years ago.
He said it was Mr Modi who had arranged for a home for these boys and their education as well.
While the BJP is now trying to cash in on the positive vibes of the viral video and Mr Modi’s comments about the two orphan boys, opposition Congress has taken strong exception to what they term as the “use of children in politics”, after a video of a girl speaking in favour of the BJP in Gujarat surfaced earlier.
The party has asked the EC to take action against parties and their leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for alleged “misuse” of children in their political campaigns.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh tweeted that the EC had assured the party of action after a Congress delegation met EC officials last Friday.
“We also hope against hope that the NCPCR finds its spine somehow and issues a notice to the PM,” Mr Ramesh tweeted, referring to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.