Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday made an unscheduled visit to Hunar Haat, organised by the Ministry of Minority Affairs on the India Gate lawns, taking even Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi by surprise.
Modi spent close to an hour interacting with the artisans, had a cup of tea in a kulhad (a clay cup), ate litti-chokha, and gave the weekday crowd some hectic photo opportunities.
It was a spur-of-the-moment, “unplanned” visit, officials said.
In multiple tweets, Modi posted: “The colours and diversity of India on display…Spent a wonderful afternoon at #HunarHaat on India Gate. It showcases the best of products including handicrafts, carpets, textiles and of course, delicious food! Do visit it. The participation of people from all across India makes #HunarHaat a vibrant place. Have a look at these photos…Had tasty Litti Chokha for lunch along with a hot cup of tea…”
Recounting the surprise element in Modi’s visit, Naqvi said he had just returned home from the Cabinet meeting for lunch when he got a call that the SPG had arrived at Hunar Haat and it appeared the Prime Minister was on his way. “I dashed out, disbelieving — if there indeed was a plan it was normal for him to mention it to me at the Cabinet. But I was still not willing to take a chance. I was doubtful, though, that if this was indeed true, I would not reach on time to receive him since VIP traffic restrictions would be in place. There was none, so I managed to reach the lawns on time.”
By then, Naqvi was “confident” that Modi was not coming there, as the traffic was “normal”. So, “imagine my surprise when I was told that the PM’s car was stuck at the Rajpath red light,” an ecstatic Naqvi recounted. Officials said traffic restrictions were not imposed since this was “a sudden visit, and the PM did not want people to be inconvenienced”.
Modi reached around 1.35 pm and spent a leisurely 55 minutes at the fair — he inspected the wares, listened to artisans’ stories, and also asked them how many generations in their families had been engaged in the craft. After some time he walked into a tea stall and had a cup of kulhad tea for Rs 20. He is learnt to have paid for the tea and even asked the stall owner to return the change.
After a while, he bought a plate of litti-chokha, sat on one of the charpoys and ate it, with Naqvi for company all the while.
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