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Today, September 17, is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 71st birthday. In a few days from today, he will be creating a record. On October 6, he will complete 20 years of continuous captainship of an elected government. He was chief minister of Gujarat for 13 years and has been the PM of the world’s largest democracy, India, for seven years. This feat of being the head of a government, as chief minister and prime minister, for 20 uninterrupted years has not happened by a stroke of luck but is a reflection of the public’s faith in a visionary leader who thinks differently and acts differently.

People repose this kind of power in the hands of a leader who they think can solve the problems of the country. Indians have seen governments run by “family parties”. Here is a PM who considers the whole country his family and works tirelessly to take it forward. People have experienced how self-interest prevailed in earlier regimes. For Modi, it is always nation first. His honesty and integrity is full and final. He led a corruption-free government and brought transparency through technology. Indian citizens have preferred him over others because of this quality.

Public perception is what matters the most to any democratic leader. All the popularity polls and surveys of world leaders have always placed him in the highest rankings. I have first-hand experience in different states of how people perceive Modi. One youth in Barmer district of Rajasthan told me, “We have seen the dead bodies of our soldiers sent by Pakistan. For the first time, we are seeing a PM who ensured the safe return of a captured pilot within 48 hours.” A women farm labourer told me that people like her prefer Modi as he has come from a humble background and understands poverty. Manipur voters were happy because he expanded the food security programme and provided rice at Rs 3 per kg.

His vision is to empower the poor, the farmers and the middle class and ensure speedy progress of the country. More than 2 crore PM Awas houses, 12 crore toilets, 4 crore power connections, 4 crore water tap connections, the implementation of the unique health scheme Ayushman Bharat which gives free treatment up to Rs 5 lakh to 50 crore people, 24 crore Mudra loans, and other job-oriented schemes have changed the fate and face of the poor sections of society.

The middle class always wants peace and prosperity. During the UPA regime, there used to be bomb blasts by terrorists in various cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Varanasi, Ahmedabad, etc. In the last seven years, there has been a sea change on the security front. Tough action against terrorism and Naxalism has brought peace. His decision to allow a surgical strike after the Uri attack and the airstrike at the Balakot terrorist camp after the Pulwama attack changed the perception of India. He showed the world that he can take tough decisions in the interest of the country. He took the historical decision to abrogate Article 370 and 35A in Jammu and Kashmir, and he also ensured a peaceful solution to the Ram Mandir issue. Muslim women welcomed his decision to do away with triple talaq.

The middle class wants infrastructure development and growing business opportunities. National highways, railways, inland waterways, rural roads, schemes like UDAN, mobile penetration, cheaper data, immediate IT refunds, GST, IBC and many other business reforms have brought ease of doing business as well as ease of living.

His vision is that of nation-building. Swachh Bharat, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Digital India, National Irrigation Policy, Skill India, Smart India Hackathon, Atal Innovation Mission and Toycathon are a few examples. His vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat, Startup India, Stand-up India and Make in India is very ambitious and forward-looking. His efforts to build attractive and good memorials of Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, B R Ambedkar, Subhas Chandra Bose and all the former prime ministers reflect his efforts to inspire the nation.

His persona can be understood from how he bowed before the Constitution and declared it to be the supreme guide for governing the country. Many times he has expressed his gratitude for the good work done by earlier governments and prime ministers. Two of his small decisions show the way that he thinks. In one, he decided to do away with VIP culture and the red beacon. In another initiative, he granted permission for self-attestation of documents. This practice of “believing in the people” was neither followed by the British nor after independence.

We have been lucky to see him in action. In every cabinet meeting, he would ask the opinion of the ministers and if there was a genuine point which made a rethink necessary, he would defer the subject and after the necessary amendments would bring it before the cabinet.

He is very active on world forums, too. In Paris, I have seen the leadership role he played to bring out a solution and successfully insisted on including the concepts of “climate justice” and “lifestyle” in the Paris Agreement.

A recent tweet on Paryushan Parv — “Forgiveness signifies large-heartedness. It is a part of our culture not to keep ill feelings towards each other” — signifies the persona of our prime minister, Narendra Modi.

Author Name : Prakash Javadekar

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This article was first published in The Indian Express.

It is part of an endeavour to collect stories which narrate or recount people’s anecdotes/opinion/analysis on Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi & his impact on lives of people.

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Modi’s Human Touch in Work, Personal Interactions Makes Him The Successful Man He is Today : Japan K Pathak
October 20, 2021
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On October 7, Narendra Modi completed 20 years as the head of a government. For those of us in Gujarat, we have closely seen the rise of Narendra Modi and how he altered the trajectory of the state. People often ask what is the one thing that separates Modi. For me, it is the human touch, be it in work or personal interactions that has led to him scaling heights.

The 1980s were an interesting period in the politics of Gujarat. The Congress was comfortably ensconced in power, both at the Centre and in the state. Despite its lackluster governance, bitter factionalism and misplaced priorities, it was unimaginable that any other political party would come to power. Hardcore BJP supporters and workers were also uncertain.

It was in such times that Modi made a shift from RSS to a more political life in the BJP. He took up the challenge of preparing the party for the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation elections. One of his earliest steps was to integrate professionals with the BJP. The party machinery reached out to eminent doctors, lawyers, engineers and teachers to join the electoral and political process. Similarly, Modi attached great importance to talking about governance issues in addition to only politics. He was constantly thinking of innovative ways of uplifting people and transforming lives.

As a communicator, Modi was always outstanding and more than that he was motivating. I recall this one particular speech at a medium sized gathering at Nirmal Party Plot in Ahmedabad’s Dharnidhar. For the first few minutes, he made people laugh through the witty comments he was known for. He then went on to ask the crowd — shall we continue joking or shall we talk about issues of national importance? I do not know what courage I developed at that time that I shouted – Both. On hearing me say that he turned to me and said – No, we cannot do both. He then talked at length about BJP’s governance vision, Article 370, the Shah Bano Case and more. The ideological clarity left me spellbound.

Those outside Gujarat would not know that Modi’s cassettes of speeches were very popular in urban Gujarat during early 1990s. These cassettes would include parts of a speech Modi would have given in some part of the state.
One more of his moving speeches came in 1994 just after the Latur earthquake. From the RSS Karyalaya in Ahmedabad, relief material and a few volunteers were sent to Latur. Modi gave an impromptu speech. After the speech, at least 50 people said they want to leave for Latur right away and that Modi’s words have had a great impact on their mind. He dissuaded them and said it is more important relief work reaches than people going, and that they must keep working for the nation where they are.

Narendra Modi’s connect with different sections was also linked to his ability to reach out to different sections of society. The world saw his ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ in 2013-2014 but I cannot forget how Modi forged a bond with different people over cups of tea by interacting with morning walkers. During the 1990s, I met him at Ahmedabad’s famous Parimal Garden where he was addressing a group of morning walkers. I could instantly see the connect. One of the doctors who knew me told me that similar interactions with Narendra Bhai were very helpful for him to understand current affairs.

There are two anecdotes, which to me show the humane side of Narendra Modi. One of them dates back to the early 2000s. Historian Rizvan Kadri and I were documenting some of the works of KeKa Shastri, a doyen of Gujarati literature and veteran of the Sangh eco-system. We had gone to meet him and one thing that struck me was his poor health. I took a photograph and got it sent to Narendra Modi’s office. At soonest, KeKa Shastri had a nurse who would attend to him.

The other relates to author Priyakant Parikh. He had a strong desire that his 100th work be launched only by Modi but the only glitch — he is immobile and homebound due to a major accident. I remember CM Modi going to Priyakant Parikh’s house at Ashram Road and launching his book. Gujarati literature circles were spellbound that a sitting CM would go to the drawing room of an ailing author and launch his book!

Two virtues that have stood him well, which would serve every political person well are – his sharp listening skills and his love for technology. His only regret about technology — that the art of remembering phone numbers was going!

Through his political career, party disciple has been paramount for Narendra Modi. Ambition is not known to him. No wonder the BJP has never lost a single election – be it Lok Sabha, Vidhan Sabha or local body, when Narendra Modi was given the task of coordinating the party strategy. The only time the BJP saw electoral setback was in the year 2000 and that was when Narendra Modi was outside the state.

As journalists, we have to meet several people but Narendra Modi told me when I was a young reporter that these must not be transactional relations but bonds that last a lifetime. Sometime around Holi in 1998 I happened to be in Delhi. Narendra Modi said something I will never forget. He said, “You must have 5,000 numbers in your telephone diary and you must have met them once and that too not in a formal way. You must know them just not as a source but as an acquaintance or friend.” I have not met 5,000 people as Narendra Modi asked me to but it did make me realise the importance of a human touch that is so important. Narendra Modi has it in plenty, which is why he is so successful.

 

Author Name: Japan K Pathak

Disclaimer:

This article was first published in News 18

It is part of an endeavour to collect stories which narrate or recount people’s anecdotes/opinion/analysis on Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi & his impact on lives of people.