What’s in a word? Oxford Dictionaries dragged into India poll

Indian residents put up posters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on their house in Ahmedabad April 22, 2019, the day before the third phase of India’s general election. — AFP pic
Indian residents put up posters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on their house in Ahmedabad April 22, 2019, the day before the third phase of India’s general election. — AFP pic

NEW DELHI, May 16 — Oxford Dictionaries was dragged into India’s bitter election today as it rubbished a claim that “Modilie” — referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi — is a recognised word.

Rahul Gandhi, Modi’s main challenger in the election, tweeted what he said was a screen shot of an online dictionary entry for the word combining the words Modi and lie.

“There’s a new word in the English Dictionary. Attached is a snapshot of the entry :),” the scion of India’s Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty wrote in a post forwarded almost 10,000 times.

The image used a similar font, layout and logo to Oxford Dictionaries’ website, but did not use the word Oxford.

Oxford Dictionaries replied on its verified Twitter account.

“We can confirm that the image showing the entry ‘Modilie’ is fake and does not exist in any of our Oxford Dictionaries,” it said.

India’s mammoth election, which ends on Sunday with results due four days later, has been awash with rumours and fake news disseminated on social media.

In an ugly campaign strewn with personal insults, Gandhi has accused Modi of lying repeatedly. Modi’s party is expected to remain the biggest after the election but with a reduced number of seats.

Gandhi, 48, also tweeted a link to a website called www.modilies.in that he said “catalogues the best Modilies!” — AFP