Enjoy our faster App experience

When I met Narendra Modi: A first-hand account

When I met Narendra Modi: A first-hand account

Dubai - To the world he came across as a no-nonsense politician, but there he was speaking to my boss with his arm resting on me.



By Rahul Gajjar

Published: Wed 12 Aug 2015, 4:29 PM

He looks and sounds tough, but there is a softer side to Narendra Modi, and I had the privilege of experiencing it first-hand.

This incident is from the time when Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat, a state in western India.

The memories of that particular day are still fresh in my mind. I was then working as a senior photographer with a local newspaper. Modi had come down from state capital Gandhinagar to interact with media persons in Vadodra, a place famous for its cultural milieu and famed M.S. University.

About 150 media persons had been invited for lunch with the then Gujarat chief minister. He mingled freely with everyone and inquired about everything from mundane issues to the health of the media industry in town.

In midst of the interaction, I received a call from the owner of my newspaper. He wanted to say "hello" to Modi, so I handed over my phone to him, informing that the Gujarati newspaper owner wanted to have a word.

Modi picked up the phone and spoke to my boss at length. While on the phone, he leaned over and placed a hand over my shoulder. He made me feel absolutely comfortable and important.

To the world he came across as a no-nonsense politician, but there he was speaking to my boss with his arm resting on me.

I am disappointed I won't be able to meet Modi when he comes to Dubai as I will be on a 10-day leave to India.

I am sure he will recognize me in one look. He is known to possess the memory of an elephant. If he meets somebody once, he will never forget the name or the face.

Another positive, especially for us, is the interest he takes in media and the concern he has for media persons. In those days when he was the chief minister, he used to take a keen interest in resolving any personal concerns of those working in media.

One of my prized possessions is a photograph with Modi.

Usually I refrain from being photographed with celebrities or politicians, but this photograph of me handing my phone over to Modi was clicked by a fellow photographer, and today it holds a prime place in my personal album.

For me Modi is the Prime Minister of India who cares for the nation and its people.
Modi has been invited by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. The Indian Prime Minister will also meet His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai during the visit.


More news from WORLD