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Much hyped Modi interview turns into Modi monologue

Hyped to the skies, the first ever television interview with Narendra Modi this election season ended up feeling like being stuck in someone's home movie.The first part of the six-part interview of BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on NewsXhad little by way of untold revelations and way more of gyan for those who cannot remember Modi's first term. Conducted in a dimly-lit environment, the interview (or monologue?) showed Modi travelling down the memory lane in a sort of stream of consciousness where the questions were edited out and the interviewer remained resolutely off camera. It made for a very puzzling "interview" experience.

The interviewer Madhu Kishwar came on camera finally but only after the interview was over to talk about her experience of interviewing the BJP prime ministerial candidate. Here are some of the highlights of what Modi chose to share.

BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. PTI

BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. PTI

On taking over as Gujarat CM

"When I took over as Gujarat CM, the media was hostile towards me. The general belief was that Modi looted Keshubhai and used his connections to dump Keshubhai Patel. The negative media coverage against me when I took over as Gujarat CM suited the Congress the most."

His secret of how to run an efficient government

Modi felt that he could not last through the culture of files and sought a different method of governance. "My inner voice told me that I cannot run the government in an academic style. I am not a Robin Hood kind of personality. I am a good listener. I learn 30 percent by reading but retain 70 percent by listening. I didn't believe in going through a heap of files," said Modi who attended sessions at IIM on management to get up to speed.

How 'bhai' became saheb'

Giving an insight to his humble upbringing, Modi said he was uncomfortable with senior bureaucrats addressing him as 'saheb'. "I felt awkward when senior bureaucrats addressed me as saheb. I was used to Narendra bhai, Narendra ji," Modi said.

Man of action

Modi believed in actions more than words. "The message of my sincerity was delivered within 100 days to taking over as Gujarat CM through my actions," Modi said while explaining how he dealt with issues like austerity and increasing the productivity of government officials in his first few days as the state's chief minister.

On empowering bureaucrats

Modi believes that red tapism tends to slow down the process of governance. He felt that most acutely while dealing with disaster management in the aftermath of the Bhuj earthquake. He felt that officers on the ground should have the authority to take immediate decisions without needing to wait to take approval from the top.

"Empowerment was my basic priority. I empowered the officers to take decisions instead waiting for approval from the top," Modi told NewsX.

Those who were expecting him to get to the contentious issues of his tenure in Gujarat will have to wait a little longer. Rupa Subramanya, co-author of Indianomix tweeted "Ok folks not a joke. Multi-part series of the Modi interview. Tomorrow we move to day 3 of his CMship... Exciting!!"

Stay tuned.


Updated Date: Mar 30, 2014 10:05 AM

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