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In late 1990s, struggling politician Modi did not even have a car: Rajdeep Sardesai’s new book

Modi as a mid-level BJP functionary
Sujay Ghosh, November 2, 2014, New Delhi, NewsCrunch

Rajdeep Sardesais new book throws interesting light on the rise of many politicians, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The book 2014: The election that changed India was released last week. Here is an interesting account of Modi in New Delhi before he catapulted as the Chief Minister of Gujarat.
 
In the BJP of late 1990s, Modi had been left behind by many of his party contemporaries.

Pramod Mahajan, had emerged sa the right hand of Prime Minister Vajpayee. Sushma Swaraj was a star orator, who had taken on Sonia Gandhi, though unsuccessfully in Bellary. Arun Jaitley was an all-rounder, a crisis manager and a strong media presence.

Modi was nowhere. His lifes ambition was to become the CM of Gujarat. But Keshubai had got him exiled to New Delhi. Whatever his designation in the party, he was just a pracharak, a humble faceless organiser.

During the Diwali milan with Delhi media Modi himself recalled his early days in Delhi. He told the journalists that in the past he used to arrange the chairs for them, when top BJP leades addressed press conferences.

Modi was desperate to move up and was friendly with journalists to get more visibility. But he was not a party A-lister, which meant that the space he got in the media was limited. He would usually accompany top leaders to the studios and wait for them to finish  and then escort them back.

As Sardesai recalls in the book, he and Arnab Goswami were co-anchoring the 10 pm show News Hour on NDTV in the late 1990s.  Once the New Delhi BJP leader Vijay Kumar Malhotra, who was scheduled  to appear as a guest, called to say he wouldnt be able to make it.

It was 8.30 pm, just 90 minutes for the show to begin and too late to find a good alternative.

Sardesai remembered Narendra Modi, who he knew wouldnt like to miss a chance to come on TV. He called him up and spoke to him in Gujarati: Aavee jao, Narendrabhai, tamhari zarroat chche. (Please come, Narendrabhai, we need you)

Rajdeep says Modi acted reluctant for about 60 seconds and then agreed to come. But there was a problem. He not have a car.

Sardesai told him to take a taxi assuring him that NDTV would reimburse the expense.

At 9.55 pm as NDTV news crew waited anxiously, a sweating Modi rushed in crying out, Rajdeep, I have come, Rajdeep I have come, recalls Sardesai.

Related - Early days of Narendra Modi

I used to arrange chairs here waiting for you, Narendra Modi tells media

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