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Modi &The Delhi Game

Will the new Prime Minister be able to live up to his reputation and realise the dreams he has sold?

7/15/2014 12:18:39 PM
written By : Shobhaa De Print

Narendra Modi, our 15th Prime Minister, and the second one from the state of Gujarat (after Morarji Desai), looked uncharacteristically sombre and out of his depth when he arrived for the historic swearing-in ceremony in the forecourt of the magnifi cent Rashtrapati Bhavan on May 26. Fortunately, it did not rain on Modi’s parade, and even the monsoon gods behaved themselves as the Prime Minister designate and his team of 45 ministers took the oath in the presence of 4,000 invitees. His self-consciousness is understandable. You either “belong” to Delhi, or you don’t. As of now, Modi doesn’t belong.

My guess is that Modi will remain an outsider in the capital, regardless of the number of terms he serves. Delhi is that sort of a place. Closed, secretive, incestuous. Delhi does not welcome those they view as “aliens” (meaning anybody who does not own a fancy bungalow/farmhouse there, and is not on buddy terms with fashion designers). Delhiwallas can be rather immature and silly when it comes to welcoming someone like Modi - a self-made man with humble origins who is more comfortable in Gujarati than either Hindi or English. Modi is as “Gujju” as they come - and that is perhaps his biggest strength.Will he play ball with Dilli types and host those nasty durbars where everybody is shredded and all backs are watched? One sincerely hopes not.

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