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2 Dec, 2023 13:37

Modi and Meloni trigger internet frenzy with 'Melodi' selfie

The apparent personal chemistry between the Indian and Italian prime ministers was on show once again at the COP28 conference
Modi and Meloni trigger internet frenzy with 'Melodi' selfie

The Indian and Italian prime ministers 'broke the internet' when Giorgia Meloni posted a selfie with Narendra Modi, accompanied by the hashtag ‘#Melodi’, weeks after social media paired the duo as a romantic couple due to their supposed chemistry.

Meloni and Modi met on the sidelines of the COP28 Summit in Dubai on Friday. “I trust in the joint efforts of India and Italy for a prosperous and sustainable future,” the Indian prime minister wrote on X (formerly Twitter), with an image of the leaders deep in conversation.

Moments later, Meloni posted the selfie, captioned: “Good friends at COP28” along with the ‘Melodi’ hashtag – a blend of their names. Modi later responded, saying "Meeting friends is always a delight." 

Meloni's post has been liked over 250,000 times on X (formerly Twitter). On Instagram, the response has been even greater, with over 650,000 likes as of Saturday afternoon.

It’s not the first time Modi and Meloni's apparent rapport has generated a flood of memes on Indian social media. ‘Melodi’ emerged as a trend in September, when the two leaders met at the G20 Summit in New Delhi. 

“Our talks covered sectors such as trade, commerce, defence, emerging technologies and more”, Modi wrote at the time on X after meeting the Italian leader. “India and Italy will keep working together for global prosperity,” he pledged.

After Meloni’s post from COP28, internet users speculated that the duo might be aware of “internet gossip” about them.

 “You can't imagine the happiness on the face of meme creators in India after this pic. They were eagerly waiting for this,” observed user Amit Jha, who identified as a “nationalist” in his bio. Vikas Pandey, an architect, accused the duo of a “conspiracy” to “break the internet.”

The ‘Melodi’ selfie also drew attention from Modi’s political colleagues in India. “Another Italian addition?”, remarked prominent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) figure Subramanian Swamy, drawing parallels between the duo and Italy-born Sonia Gandhi, the wife of the late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and former president of India’s largest opposition party, the Congress. 

Of course the latest is just divorced but is PM. Our PM has ditched his wife. So made for each other?” he posted, commenting on the leaders' selfie. Modi was married at the age of 18, but separated soon afterwards. Last month, Meloni announced her separation from her partner of 10 years, Andrea Giambruno.

Swamy’s post triggered outrage among political commentators, including the Indian prime minister’s supporters, who slammed the BJP politician’s “filthy mindset.” Despite being Modi’s colleague in the party, Swamy is known for criticizing the prime minister. Earlier this year, Swamy said Modi should not enter the race for PM in 2024 as he has “failed” to manage the economy.