There are many people who like Narendra Modi, and many who hate him. However, you simply cannot ignore the fact that he is definitely a crowd-puller. No other Prime Minister of India apart from Indira Gandhi and Atal Behari Vajpayee has garnered as much public attention in India and abroad in as compared to our current PM, Narendra Modi.
No wonder that opposition parties are yet to field a befitting Prime-Ministerial candidate for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections who can break Modi’s charm. Yes! Rahul Gandhi has public support too, but it falls short of the support and respect that Modi commands.
Modi and his magic!
He is a sure shot magnetic personality, not only are other world leaders in awe of him, but even our country’s citizens are slowly accepting him as a person befitting the stature of the Prime Minister of India.
Talking about his style, he has a penchant for breaking protocol wherever he is.
- He is a rebel of sorts; always doing different things to engage with the public that most other leaders would either not think about or are simply not that down to earth.
- He has brought the world’s attention towards India. Not that the world didn’t know about India before, but slowly and steadily other countries are exploring more FDI options in India.
Why is Modi different from a ‘regular’ politician?
- He loves breaking protocol whenever he feels the need to impress someone! He is like an ambidextrous person – he can write with either left hand or right hand, or both at the same time! He knows where and when to be reserved and where to speak out.
- Similarly, he gives true meaning to ‘Indian hospitality’ when he hosts someone in our country. His ‘bear-hug’ or ‘hugplomacy’ (as Rahul Gandhi terms it) is now world-famous! He meets and greets world leaders like Putin and Trump with a hug! Imagine yourself trying it if you were the PM of India; you won’t even try!
- There is no politician or world leader in the world who doesn’t expect the ‘Modi-hug’! That is how famous this hug has become!
- He goes out of the way to make his delegates feel special. From receiving them personally at airports, taking a car ride with them, taking a scary seaplane ride to walking down the Rajpath on Republic Day waving to the masses – this man has done it all!
Times when Modi broke protocol – a massive list in no particular order
- After the Republic Day parade in 2018, instead of getting into his car and scooting home, he simply strolled on the Rajpath to wave to the crowd.
- He gave a surprise to Pakistan on Pak PM Nawaz Sharif’s Birthday to ease tensions between the two countries. He even visited Nawaz’s ancestral residence in Jati Umra village of Punjab, India as a show of empathy. This was a sudden visit; no official announcements, nothing.
- On ex-President APJ Abdul Kalam’s sudden death in 2015, Modi announced a 7-day mourning period even though protocol states that this can be done only for sitting presidents (Dr. Pranab Mukherjee was the the-then President of India)
- He has received and met world leaders with hugs in India and abroad like Japan PM Shinzo Abe, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ex-US President Barack Obama, current US President Donald Trump, etc. from E7, G20, G15 and commonwealth nations. He greeted Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina on the tarmac with a bouquet. As per protocol, any cabinet minister, a high-ranking diplomat or envoy usually does this job.
- During the 2017 Gujarat Polls, he inaugurated the Sabarmati river-Dharoi dam sea-link himself even though protocol strictly states that VVIPs should travel by twin-engine aircrafts only.
- He took Xi Jin Ping, the Chinese president on a personal tour to Sabarmati Ashram when he visited India in 2017.
- Afghan president Ashraf Ghani visited the Golden Temple with Modi and even launched the India-Afghan friendship dam in Herat, Afghanistan together.
When World Leaders Broke Protocol For Modi
Call it the Modi-magic or returning the favor, many world leaders have done things inspired by Modi too, like:
- When Modi made his maiden voyage to the US, the-then POTUS Barack Obama took Modi to a personalized tour of the monument of Martin Luther King Jr. and other historical monuments.
- When he visited Japan in 2014, Shinzo Abe and Modi attended an impromptu tea ceremony.
- Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto took Modi to a restaurant Quintonil (one of the top 50 restaurants in the world for the year 2015) in his private car!
- When Modi was received in Nepal on his maiden visit to the country, his counterpart Sushil Koirala received him personally at the airport.
- The-then PM of Canada, Stephen Harper took Modi to a Hindu temple and a gurudwara during Modi’s Canada visit for holy blessings in 2015.
- Modi personally invited erstwhile US president Mr. Barack Obama as the chief guest for 2015 Republic Day celebration in India where Obama broke security protocol by being outside for 2 hours and above (US Secret Service’s rules do not allow more than 45 minutes at an open-air venue to the POTUS)
- David Cameron, the-then UK PM addressed the Indian diaspora along with Modi at the Wembley Stadium in 2015.
Is this why people love him?
Probably yes! He has come out of the shadows of the allegations of being involved in the Gujarat riots with aplomb! He has found newer ways to engage with the general public and that is what is helping him and his party, the BJP to win a majority of states in each coming election.
When he gets criticized for ignoring security protocols, he shuns of all responsibility with his ‘I am a common man’ approach. He is an unconventional politician which is probably why you hear chants of “Modi, Modi” everywhere.
He may be giving security personnel a run for their money, but he is making it damn sure that he leaves no stone unturned for the BJP to secure its win in the 2019 LS elections!
Let us know in the comments if you wish to get a ‘Modi-hug’ someday from the man himself.