Announcer asks PMs to ‘step down’

Diplomatic events are marked by caution and a kind of hyper-precision when it comes to the choice of words, hence all it took was one gaffe by the announcer at the joint presser of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladeshi premier Sheikh Hasina Wajed to break the tension and have the entire assembly of politicians and journalists doubling over in laughter.

The moment took place at Hyderabad House on April 8. The two leaders were standing on the podium when the announcer decided to ask them to climb down and pose together for a photograph. He, by-now-famously, said, “May I request the two prime ministers to step down.”

Since he did not specify what he would have liked the two to dismount the dais for, listeners understood him as having requested them to resign from their posts, albeit mistakenly, and the entire hall, including the persons addressed, erupted in laughter—for a whole minute, reporters later said.

Soon, however, everyone moved on and the leaders began answering questions on the Teesta water-sharing deal and other matters. Talks on the former topic are likely to continue while the two sides will be signing at least 25 pacts in various key sectors including defence and civil nuclear cooperation.