EXCERPT : In line with Online

EXCERPT : In line with Online

Blogging, twitter, online chat, books, poetry, the extremely tech savvy Narendra Modi uses every platform to effectively portray the 'Main nahi hum'...

Blogging, twitter, online chat, books, poetry, the extremely tech savvy Narendra Modi uses every platform to effectively portray the 'Main nahi hum' concept and a youthful picture

Modi drew a parallel between himself and Swamiji, because he was a Hindu monk and a brahmachari too. More interestingly, Vivekananda's original name was Narendra Nath Dutta

The most mysterious aspect of his life relates to his supposed marriage to Jashodaben Chimanlal, which he does not talk about.A Many journalists like Darshan Desai had met Jashodaben in 2002 in north Gujarat, where she worked as a primary school teacher. This was obviously to Modi's chagrin, because Desai got a call from the big man the moment he returned from the trip.

'Modi wanted to know what I was up to,' recalls Desai, to whom the lady had confirmed her marriage to Modi. Before the 2007A elections, a clipping of Jashodaben had appeared on YouTube, wherein she related the story of her marriage and how she was stillA waiting for Modi.A Before the 2012 elections some intrepid reporters once again made a beeline for Jashodaben's village hoping for fresh news bytes.

But she could not be found in spite of their best efforts. Villagers said that she had retired from her job and moved on.A Modi is not only extremely dogged but also very hard-working, often at the cost of his health. Newspaper reports from Gujarat about the 2012 election campaign reveal that Modi maintained a punishing schedule in spite of persistent backaches, swollen legs and a sore throat.

The sore throat is reported to have really bothered him after the first phase of elections that ended on 14 December andA Modi had to seek medical attention to ensure that his vocal cords were intact for campaigning in the next few days. The Times of India reported that he was one-man-army, a man possessed, addressing an average of 19 meetings a day, other than his 3D appearances, in the course of 15 days.

This election campaign schedule was preceded by a month-long Vivekananda Yuva Vikas Yatra which was used by Modi as a warm-up to the actual election campaign. But even during these warm-up sessions, Modi addressed 135 rallies in the course of a month. The Times of India computed that as a result of the yatra and election campaigning schedule, Modi was able to touch all the 182 assembly seats twice over.

The invocation of the name Vivekananda for the yatra demonstrates how inventive Modi is. Besides this year being the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda (which meant that the yatra was dove-tailed onto a series of events across the country to commemorate the occasion) Modi drew a parallel between himself and Swamiji, because he was a Hindu monk and a brahmachari too.

More interestingly, Vivekananda's original name was Narendra Nath Dutta. Modi calculated that this would bring up an invariable comparison with his own first name and in public perception, hopefully transfer some of the sterling qualities of Vivekananda to Modi.A As Modi himself wrote in a blog, he chose 11 September to kick-start his yatra because this was the day in 1893 when Swami Vivekananda addressed the World Congress of Religions in Chicago.

Of course, he did not fail to also note that these days, 9/11 brought to mind the destructive pictures of aeroplanes crashing into the Twin Towers in New York, but that he would rather remember the speech of Swamiji.A Tech-savvy Modi writes a blog on the Times of India site and is off-the-mark very quickly. Barely 45 minutes after the final round of polling for the 2012 elections was over at 5 pm on 17 December, Modi's blog titled 'Historic turnout at the polls, congrats to the people of Gujarat' was up.

Two days earlier after the first phase of elections, Modi had blogged about the marvels of 3D technology that he 'proudly' used to communicate his message. He added: 'Technology is the medium. The bond that I share with the people is that of the heart and runs very deep.'A Those who read his blogs say that he tries to portray himself not only as a man of the masses, but also as a self-effacing one. 'MainA nahin hum' (not I but we), is what he stresses in his blog writings though, in reality, this is not what his personality is all about.

HeA wrote a blog on his birthday, in which he said that his birthday was a day like any other and every day was special to him. In his blog,A Modi also projects himself as the 'common man' (CM) and not chief minister (CM), preferring to describe himself as a 'practical dreamer' who has the ability to convert dreams into reality.

Besides being a blogger, Modi is also on Twitter and his men claim that he has half-a-million followers. But this is a grossly exaggerated figure, say cyber experts who have examined this claim. For the 2012 elections, Modi also relied on a newly-started Internet TV channel called NaMo, to spread his message. Though Modi may be naturally inclined towards modern gadgets, his harnessing of technology is also part of strategy to overhaul hisA image of Hindutva.

'A technology-savvy man is a forward-looking man, while Hindutva is rooted in the mores of a medieval man. Modi is trying to make a leap through harnessing technology and this is why he makes a big deal of it', says Rahul Sharma, president of a public affairs firm, Genesis. He also knows how to use TV effectively. Those who have observed him closely, point at how, in the course of an election rally, he switches from Gujarati to Hindi the minute he sees cameras of national channels.

In order to appear 'cool' and as the first Indian politician to chat 'live' with netizens, Modi also appeared on Google+ chat in lateA August 2012.A The chat was broadcast live on YouTube. But the fact that questions had to be submitted ahead, took the sting out of a 'live' chat. Questions related to subjects like education, youth empowerment, urbanization issues, and rural development.

A day before the session, Modi tweeted: 'Friends I am looking forward to exchanging ideas with you on G+ hangout tomorrow and on realizing Swami Vivekananda's vision of strong India.' Analysts, however, call this 'show-baazi' and say that if he were so 'cool', he should have had a real live chat.

The chat was moderated by filmA star, Ajay Devgan. Many say that Modi wants to draw a glamour quotient from cine artists: it is not without reason that Modi hasA hired Amitabh Bachchan as the tourism ambassador for Gujarat.

Actor-turned-businesswoman, Preity Zinta, too, is invited to Vibrant Gujarat. With the same idea in mind, Olympic medalist, Gagan Narang was encouraged to call on Modi to seek land to establish a shooting academy in Gandhinagar.

Image consultants analyze that since Modi may be up against Rahul Gandhi for the PM's post in the next general election, this emphasis in appearing to be youthful is aimed at beating competition.A But cold and calculative though he is, Modi also wants to project himself as a sensitive man.

Excerpt from The Namo Story: A A Political Life, by : Kingshuk Nag, Publisher : Roli)

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