Chai for all, charcha for Modi

Technical snags did not allow questions to be aired from some places.

Ahmedabad | Updated: February 13, 2014 6:02 am
Narendra Modi sips between statements from an Ahmedabad tea stall.(Javed Raja) Narendra Modi sips between statements from an Ahmedabad tea stall. (Javed Raja)

It was Narendra Modi in charcha, largely solitary. A glass of tea in his hand and seated on the road outside Iskcon Ganthia in Ahmedabad Wednesday, Modi turned chai pe charcha into a mostly one-way event.

Volunteers of Citizens for Accountable Governance (CAG), the NGO hosting the event, partnered by a famous electronics goods brand that had provided the LCD screens, were there dressed in blue kurtas. They even set up impromptu tea hangouts where there were none.

Like in Vadodara’s Darbar Chowkdi in Manjalpur where  a decorated counter, serving ready-made tea from a party kettle, was set up. Narendra Patel, BJP ward executive of the area, said, “This vendor operates on his mobile phone and supplies tea all over the area. We have stuck to his concept.”

Even at the Iskcon Ganthia, where Modi was in flesh and blood and described the event as a “footpath Parliament”,  nobody asked questions, although many were made to sit close to Modi. Technical snags did not allow questions to be aired from some places and in Gujarat, Vadodara was the only centre to get a question.

Crowds at most venues were mostly of local BJP leaders and workers. Tea was free at all venues.  In Rajkot, none of the three venues had arrangements to allow people to ask questions to Modi.  “Our focus is on  states like West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and others where Modi is not very popular. So, interactive systems were set up there. He is quite well-known in Rajkot so we don’t have plan to facilitate interactive sessions here,” said Binit Gandhi, local coordinator of CAG.

Meghnathi Rajeshgiri, 20, who brewed the tea for Modi at Iskcon Ganthia, said, “I made tea on my own. Nobody briefed me. Modi had two full cups of tea at my stall.” Mandeep Patel, who runs the Ganthia, shop said that she got to know only at 10 am that Modi was coming to her shop. At Surat’s Pooja tea stall, 13-year old Hem was returning from school on his bicycle and stopped by to have tea and watch Modi on the screen. Most tea vendors went home happy, having sold almost double the tea in these two hours than they sold the whole day.

Pooja tea stall owner, Bharat Mali,  sold 700 cups on Wednesday, double his usual sale. “I had purchased extra milk bags and stocked up tea leaves. I have got advance payment from the local BJP leader who told me to keep a record of the tea supplied during the event, “said Mali.

At Jaihind Char Rasta in Maninagar, which is Modi’s constituency, the Chai pe Charcha suffered audio glitches. Pankaj Parikh, a former government employee, said at Maninagar that this event gave a glimpse into Modi’s future plans as prime minister.

Payal Patel, who claimed to have been Modi’s neighbour in Pidora Pol at hometown Vadnagar, said, “I know him for long from my Vadnagar days. He can be trusted by us, going by what he has been doing so well so far.”

Ahmed Ali Ansari, an unemployed tailor who has been looking for work for eight months, said, “This is all very illusive. Politicians like him are unpredictable. Much of all nice things he is saying right now will disappear after the election.”

A pair of TV sets, connected with direct-to-home placed at different tea points in the country, set the stage for the experiment.

Good governance being the theme, Modi discussed issues ranging from education to clean energy to black money to safety and ways to improve infrastructure, carefully answering questions  asked from selective cities. In Chhani area of Vadodara, the tea hangout was conspicuous by absence of women audience.

The next chai pe charcha will be on “Women’s Empowerment”.

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  1. A
    anonymous
    Feb 13, 2014 at 12:51 am
    Why did IE block me? for praising Modi?
    Reply
    1. A
      anonymous
      Feb 13, 2014 at 12:51 am
      Why did IE block me? for praising Modi?
      Reply
      1. A
        aasare
        Feb 13, 2014 at 10:42 am
        Ok its given that u guys will have problems with whatever modi does/says, so go ask maino and her son to have a similar session
        Reply
        1. A
          aasare
          Feb 13, 2014 at 10:42 am
          Ok its given that u guys will have problems with whatever modi does/says, so go ask maino and her son to have a similar session
          Reply
          1. G
            Guest
            Feb 13, 2014 at 2:15 am
            I wish I could applause the writer's enormous effort to belittle the event .. but sorrythe truth is out there and truth is known to all ..Modi is the leader EVERYBODY loves .. :)
            Reply
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              Guest
              Feb 13, 2014 at 2:15 am
              I wish I could applause the writer's enormous effort to belittle the event .. but sorrythe truth is out there and truth is known to all ..Modi is the leader EVERYBODY loves .. :)
              Reply
              1. P
                Praveen
                Feb 13, 2014 at 5:05 am
                The tone of this article is very negative. Its a humble request to all readers next time please attend one of the events even if you are not voting for him. Its a nice experience to interact with people and listening to various governance related issues and ideas from different part of the country.
                Reply
                1. P
                  Praveen
                  Feb 13, 2014 at 5:05 am
                  The tone of this article is very negative. Its a humble request to all readers next time please attend one of the events even if you are not voting for him. Its a nice experience to interact with people and listening to various governance related issues and ideas from different part of the country.
                  Reply
                  1. L
                    Lakshmi Chatti
                    Feb 13, 2014 at 11:10 am
                    Other papers reported differently.
                    Reply
                    1. L
                      Lakshmi Chatti
                      Feb 13, 2014 at 11:10 am
                      Other papers reported differently.
                      Reply
                      1. D
                        drreddy
                        Feb 13, 2014 at 1:59 am
                        1)who ever wrote this article should have his brain examined by a gynaecologist.2)the charcha is for people to ess and interact with modi.NAMO need not know the depths of voter's knowledge and problem sovling capablities.3)you cant expect 300 questions in 3 hours.4)the techno snag is fixable and not a big deal5)you talk as if you have been at all the 300 centers.did you only see BJP workers every where.we need workers to supervise right .go jump in the lake
                        Reply
                        1. D
                          drreddy
                          Feb 13, 2014 at 1:59 am
                          1)who ever wrote this article should have his brain examined by a gynaecologist.2)the charcha is for people to ess and interact with modi.NAMO need not know the depths of voter's knowledge and problem sovling capablities.3)you cant expect 300 questions in 3 hours.4)the techno snag is fixable and not a big deal5)you talk as if you have been at all the 300 centers.did you only see BJP workers every where.we need workers to supervise right .go jump in the lake
                          Reply
                          1. D
                            Drrkd Goel
                            Feb 13, 2014 at 10:03 am
                            L.K.Advani used Mr. Narendar Modi for his advantages. I.E. Modi on hit list of LeT / Indian Mujahideen's. Modi need too much security for his safety after 2002 rits of Gujarat.
                            Reply
                            1. D
                              Drrkd Goel
                              Feb 13, 2014 at 10:03 am
                              L.K.Advani used Mr. Narendar Modi for his advantages. I.E. Modi on hit list of LeT / Indian Mujahideen's. Modi need too much security for his safety after 2002 rits of Gujarat.
                              Reply
                              1. D
                                Drrkd Goel
                                Feb 13, 2014 at 10:19 am
                                Mr. Narendra Modi should not give ticket for MP to Mr. L.K.Advani for MP seat of Ahmedabad. If Advani will be candidate from Ahmedabad than BJP will loss one seat of MP from Gujarat. Take it granted from me. Even Sindhi's of Gujarta are not happy with Advani due to Dr. Maya Kodnani. Mr. Modi Should be cautious from Mr. L.K.Advani now. Advani will backstab Mr. Modi. L.K.Advani trying to please Modi by all means to become MP at the age of 87 years. See what role pla by Advani in Karachi as RSS worker. Advani was on hit list of Muslim League in Karachi as Mr. Advani planning to kill Mr. Jinnah. Advani went to Karachi in 2005 to show that he is a Secular and taking care of Muslims in India. Muslims well recognised what is Mr. Advani. Mr. Modi is on hit list of LeT due to Advani only from 1992 /2002 after post Godhra riots of Gujarat in 2002. Modi is not responsible for 1992 / 2002 anti -Muslim riots in India. Modi is not anti-Muslims. I can prove very well that Modi was never anti-Muslim except he was doing his work to protect Hindus to be converted into Christians. Modi was RSS Pracharak in Godhra and his wager man was a Muslim in Godhra and in Ahmedabad Mr, Modi's Barbar was a Muslim.I can prove that Modi was never ant-Muslim. Only Mr. Advani his political Guru defamed Modi after 1992 / 2002. Advani never guided Modi properly in 2002 Gujarat riots.
                                Reply
                                1. D
                                  Drrkd Goel
                                  Feb 13, 2014 at 10:19 am
                                  Mr. Narendra Modi should not give ticket for MP to Mr. L.K.Advani for MP seat of Ahmedabad. If Advani will be candidate from Ahmedabad than BJP will loss one seat of MP from Gujarat. Take it granted from me. Even Sindhi's of Gujarta are not happy with Advani due to Dr. Maya Kodnani. Mr. Modi Should be cautious from Mr. L.K.Advani now. Advani will backstab Mr. Modi. L.K.Advani trying to please Modi by all means to become MP at the age of 87 years. See what role pla by Advani in Karachi as RSS worker. Advani was on hit list of Muslim League in Karachi as Mr. Advani planning to kill Mr. Jinnah. Advani went to Karachi in 2005 to show that he is a Secular and taking care of Muslims in India. Muslims well recognised what is Mr. Advani. Mr. Modi is on hit list of LeT due to Advani only from 1992 /2002 after post Godhra riots of Gujarat in 2002. Modi is not responsible for 1992 / 2002 anti -Muslim riots in India. Modi is not anti-Muslims. I can prove very well that Modi was never anti-Muslim except he was doing his work to protect Hindus to be converted into Christians. Modi was RSS Pracharak in Godhra and his wager man was a Muslim in Godhra and in Ahmedabad Mr, Modi's Barbar was a Muslim.I can prove that Modi was never ant-Muslim. Only Mr. Advani his political Guru defamed Modi after 1992 / 2002. Advani never guided Modi properly in 2002 Gujarat riots.
                                  Reply
                                  1. a
                                    aliamir71
                                    Feb 13, 2014 at 11:30 am
                                    W India and the world knows his limited abilities. He can only speak, he can not talk.
                                    Reply
                                    1. a
                                      aliamir71
                                      Feb 13, 2014 at 11:30 am
                                      W India and the world knows his limited abilities. He can only speak, he can not talk.
                                      Reply
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                                        Gokul Raina
                                        Feb 13, 2014 at 4:32 pm
                                        Modi is spending crores on LCD screens and video-confrensing. Lord only knows how much will he spend on the actual people's development. My guess is nil.
                                        Reply
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                                          Gokul Raina
                                          Feb 13, 2014 at 4:32 pm
                                          Modi is spending crores on LCD screens and video-confrensing. Lord only knows how much will he spend on the actual people's development. My guess is nil.
                                          Reply
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                                            guptadkj
                                            Feb 13, 2014 at 8:17 am
                                            This is not what I remember seeing yesterday. There were many questions including some from Kerala in English and Modi replied to each one of them,including the one in English in surprisingly good,albeit not chaste English.I hereby certify that I do not suffer from short term amnesia-unlike the author of this inane rubbish.
                                            Reply
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