New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has gone into adventure mode with an iconic television programme billed to show him in the wild, thrilling his fans but triggering a political backlash over the timing of his foray into a national park.

Modi will feature in an episode of Man Vs Wild on Discovery TV scheduled to be aired on 12 August. The episode, featuring long-time host and British adventurer Bear Grylls, will be called ‘Man Vs Wild with Bear Grylls & PM Modi’. A promotional video went viral on Monday.

Opposition leaders said the episode was shot on 14 February, the day of the Pulwama terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir that killed 40 Indian soldiers.

The episode, which has been shot in Uttarakhand’s Jim Corbett National Park, reportedly features a frank and freewheeling conversation, throwing light on wildlife conservation and highlighting issues related to environmental change.

Discovery said viewers in more than 180 countries will be able to see the pair build a raft and cross a jungle river together.

“For years, I have lived among nature, in the mountains and the forests...For me, this show presents a great opportunity to showcase to the world India’s rich environmental heritage and stress on the importance of environment conservation and living in harmony with nature," Modi said.

However, soon after the promo hit social media, opposition leaders attacked the Prime Minister. “I think it is incumbent upon Discovery channel to put it out in public space that on that particular date, for how many hours and from what time to what time the shooting of this particular episode took place," senior Congress leader Manish Tewari said on Monday while referring to the Pulwama attacks.

“At the risk of sounding repetitive, the PM surely is a pioneer in innovative PR (public relations) skills that seem to strike a chord with every generation," Mehbooba Mufti, former CM of Jammu and Kashmir said on Twitter. First broadcast in 2006, Man Vs Wild is a popular survival show, where Grylls tackles extreme conditions across remote locations, and comes up with innovative survival strategies.

Anuja contributed to the story.

(Photo: Discovery Channel)
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