Monday, June 09, 2014

Modi’s quiet walk in the corridors of power and other tell-tale signs

New Delhi: “I am Prime Minister Modi. I want to come and see you at a time convenient to you.” The man who was getting the call was secretary in one of the departments of the Government of India. He was stunned and he was quite at a loss for words. He informed his minister that the prime minister is coming to the department. A call was made from the minister’s office to the prime minister’s office. The minister was told that the prime minister wants to meet the secretary and not the minister.

So, PM Modi went to the department. He was received with a bouquet. Later, the secretary was told that there is no need to waste money on bouquets, but he can certainly do so (waste money) on a cup of tea or coffee. Then he went around, met the joint secretaries and others. The officers were thrilled that the prime minister chose to come and meet them.

There are winds of change in the corridors of power, and Modi is engaged in his own way to get a grasp of how the ship of the Government of India works in the engine room as it were.

This was narrated by an outsider, an expert in handicrafts, who has to remain unnamed, who has friends in the government at high places. The outsider was narrating the Modi effect in an excited manner in his retail outlet over a cup of coffee.

“I have received a call from the prime minister’s office (PMO),” he said. It was the most courteous call he got from any government office. He was told that the prime minister Modi wants to meet him and he (Modi) wants to know when would it be convenient to him. The expert was also given the topics that the prime ministers wanted to discuss. The time and the day were fixed. He has been an expert in the field for so many years but no one in the government, not the prime minister certainly, ever wanted to discuss with him the issues about which he knew.

He was not the only one who was invited by the prime minister. He is one of the five thousand experts in the country whom Modi had reached out to. Call it Modi’s outreach programme. Someone in Modi’s team has then identified an army of experts spread across the country, and Modi is keen to be informed of their views.

The secretary and the expert in handicrafts seem to be overwhelmed by the Modi charm offensive.


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