NEW DELHI: Modi is PM now. The “taint” seems to have disappeared. The CBCI approached the PMO for an appointment and the request was immediately accepted, courtesy the BJP minority cell and the over-zealousness of the Kerala state BJP unit. “We had sought a 15-minute meeting and the PMO was very pro-active this time.
We were allotted 20 minutes. The PM and the Cardinal met for 30 minutes,” said a source.
Apparently, the PM and the Cardinal who had worn his trademark saffron robes and a rudraksh with a cross at its end, were highly impressed with each other. Modi even wanted to know about the reason for the unusual colour of the Cardinal’s robe. “The Cardinal explained to Modi that his sect - the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church - is the closest to Indian ethos and tradition,” the source said.
The Cardinal, who had visited Manmohan Singh when he was the PM, was apparently struck by the differences in the PMO. “It was a holiday (Janmashtami). The PMO was fully active unlike the previous government’s time. Our Cardinal was full of praise for Modi’s style of governance,” said a priest. He was also impressed by “Modi’s understanding of things and his promptness in replying, unlike the wavering replies of Manmohan Singh,’’ said the source.
The Cardinal gifted Modi with a plaque depicting Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” The PM “happily accepted the gift,” said the source. “We had thought of gifting a Krishna idol as we met him on Janmashtami, but we later decided to go for a neutral gift,” said a priest.
“It is good for both. Goodwill among Christians, the second largest minority religious group in the country, will help Modi in improving his international profile while the Church can protect its interest by being pro-government,’’ an insider said.