Information and broadcasting minister Venkaiah Naidu’s official communication to cabinet colleagues on preparations to mark the NDA government’s first three years in power mentions BJP president Amit Shah and the recent electoral victories of the party. The minister’s communication said that people look up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a “messiah”. The letter to cabinet ministers, who were assigned communication jobs for the three-year celebrations, begins with: “Nothing could perhaps be more gratifying for all of us than the recent electoral verdict of the people who reposed immense faith in the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and Party president Shri Amit Shah.”
Naidu added: “The mood of the nation is clearly in favour of the BJP and PM Modi. People look up to him as their messiah. We all take pride in being a member of Team Modi whose relentless pursuit to turn around the fortunes of millions of people, hitherto neglected by successive governments, is bearing visible fruit.” In March last year, at the BJP National executive, while moving the political resolution, Naidu had described Modi as “God’s gift to India” and a “messiah of poor”. The remarks, however, were not part of BJP’s political resolution adopted by the national executive.
The annexure to Naidu’s letter identified 15 sectors for effective communication with people and allocated them to ministers. While most ministers were tasked with preparing communication notes for their ministries, two surprise entries are that of textiles minister Smriti Irani, who was asked to deal with women’s welfare and related issues, and coal minister Piyush Goyal who was asked to deal with anti-corruption measures such as the note ban. The minister for women and child development is Maneka Gandhi and her deputy in Krishna Raj. The finance portfolio is held by Arun Jaitley and his deputies are Santosh Kumar Gangwar and Arjun Ram Meghwal.
Among other ministers who were asked to submit notes to Naidu were I-T minister Ravishankar Prasad on DBT, Aadhar etc, Parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar on important legislation, HRD minister Prakash Javadekar on education, health minister J P Nadda on health initiatives, minister for skill development Rajiv Pratap Rudy on skilling initiatives. Also on the list were two people not part of the government. Nominated Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta and former Rajya Sabha MP Chandan Mitra were given the task of countering “possible negative narratives” on topics such as “less than promised employment generation, inconsistent performance of core sector, so-called threats to freedom of expression, slow progress of next generation reforms and no significant breakthrough on ease of doing business.”
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