NEW DELHI: Fresh from its victory in Maharashtra and Haryana, the BJP brought Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the party headquarters to interact with the media - his first since he assumed office.
Billed as Diwali Milan to celebrate the recent victory, there were no questions and answers, instead sufficient opportunity for everyone to shake hands and take selfies.
Modi, in his brief address from the specially set up stage, lauded the media for propagating his pet scheme to clean India - Swachh Bharat Abhiyan - saying it has propagated the idea which is only set to grow in the coming days.
Speaking to journalists, most of them who had covered the party over the years, Modi reminisced the good old days when he had time to interact with the newsmen, some of them who were still on the beat.
“Mediapersons and I had a relationship which goes long back. I used to put up chairs for you. Those were different days when we interacted freely. That relationship continued to Gujarat, when you used to come there,” Modi said referring to his days as party general secretary and interaction with reporters on the BJP beat.
Hopefully, I will find a way to interact with media more often as personal meetings throw up more ideas, and I get information.
The Prime Minister till now had kept the media at bay, by not appointing a media advisor in his office, to cutting down on the media delegations on his foreign trip, to yet to hold a press meet.
The idea of having a PM at an informal press interaction during a similar interaction by party president Amit Shah had with the beat reporters. Shah was reminded that the PM was yet to meet reporters. When the PM arrived at 9 Ashoka Road bungalow, next to party headquarters at 11 Ashoka Road, Modi had come a long way. As a party general secretary in late 90s, Modi used to stay in a room in the bungalow that has been with the party for long.
For most part of his brief speech, Modi praised media’s effort to propagate the idea of cleanliness. “Columnists who had not written a word about cleanliness in 20 years, wrote about it... Message has gone that the government alone cannot do everything,” the Prime Minister said. “You have turned your pen into a broom. Its your debt on me,” he added.
Also seated on the dais were party president Amit Shah, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, party leaders Sushma Swaraj, Prakash Javadekar and J P Nadda.
He later interacted with gathered editors and reporters. As he talked to individual editors, he took time to listen to pleasentaries. He then went around to meet BJP beat reporters.