Saturday, June, 25,2022


A BJP leader from Gujarat, Shailesh Mehta, recollects PM Modi’s speech after the tricolour was hoisted by Shri Murli Manohar Joshi at Lal Chowk in Kashmir in 1992. The party worker recalls how Narendra Modi’s simplicity and soft temperament touched his life. He cannot forget the day when Modiji bypassed the official procedures and visited Shailesh Mehta at his home after becoming the Chief Minister of Gujarat.

It was in 1974 that I came in touch with Modiji for the first time. To this day, I have been in awe of his personality and he has never failed to inspire me. Modiji has been blessed with a magnetic personality that attracts people to him irrespective of their age or economic status. All those he comes in contact with feel that Narenda bhai belongs to them and people begin to converse with him almost at a personal level, as if they are interacting with their own brother. For him work is worship and helping others an ideal that he never diverges from. These attributes of his personality have resulted in people alluding to him as “Samarth Sathi”.

His speech after the hoisting of tricolour at Lal Chowk in Kashmir in 1992 was a turning point in the Indian political arena. Narendra bhai, even without realising, had started to create a new India. That day the ardour of his words, his passionate patriotism, and the fearless challenge that he threw open to terrorists, took Narendra bhai to every home in India. He created a place for himself in the hearts of his fellow men who were inspired and floored by the intensity of his love for his motherland.

At the time I was the Utkarsh Mantri in Assam and had organised a welcome programme for him. I was conducting the proceedings on stage and as per the flow of the event, I had to introduce Narendra bhai, then invite him for a speech and post his talk, leave the floor open for questions from the audience. In his talk Modiji narrated the Lal Chowk incident, how the event unfolded and his thoughts about it. Well, little needs to be said about the rhetorical skills of our Prime Minister. Narendra bhai is one of the greatest orators of modern India who speaks straight from the heart transporting his audience into a trance like state in which they simply fail to utter a word even after he ceased to speak.

His speech in that programme where he described the Lal Chowk incident had a similar impact on the audience. They were spellbound and after his speech was over, when I asked the audience to put up questions, there was pin drop silence. I simply didn’t know what to do. Once again I requested the audience to begin with the question-answer session but there was no response. Now I was left with no other option but to ask a question myself. I acted as if someone from the audience had come up with a question and put it across to Narendra bhai. But razor sharp as he is, he immediately knew what had happened and he answered at length, though with a chuckle. From then on, he nicknamed me “Prashnakar” and even today addresses me by that epithet.

By the time he had finished answering the question, the audience was alive again and then, God knows, such a bunch of questions presented themselves that after a while we had to request people to calm down and bring the programme to a conclusion leaving the questions for some other day.

In a nutshell, that programme has been one of the most cherished and memorable events of my life.

Another incident that I would like to share with our readers today is when my family members wanted to meet Narendra bhai and congratulate him personally after he was elected CM of Gujarat. I organised a Milan programme at my residence where my family had gathered and as is obvious, everyone wanted to have a picture clicked with Modiji.

I would like to tell my readers here that I witnessed with my own eyes something that makes leaders truly great. The family helper, whose name is Mogji, came to me and requested if he too could have a photograph clicked with the Chief Minister. I told him he could but he would have to wait. This was overheard by Narendra bhai and at that point, he bypassed all protocols, flung his arm around Mogji and with a pat on his shoulder, said “Get ready for a photo.” He then called out for the photographer and got a picture clicked with Mogji and well, all others could wait.

This incident, like so may others we have heard and read about our beloved PM, shows us that in the eyes of a great leader, all men are equal. Every human being is important and deserves to be treated with love, respect and honour. For Narendra bhai, there is no distinction between the rich and the poor, the young and the old and he truly lives by the slogan he himself has coined “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas”. It is this trait of our PM that endears him to every citizen of the country, so much so that we all feel as if Modiji is part of our own family. Such feelings of intimacy and love for a public personality are rare but when they are present it is proof that the man we admire and love, is not an ordinary mortal. Modiji is a great statesman and the world adores him for his simplicity, integrity and courage. TO BE CONTINUED…

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