Narendra Modi

By SAUBHIK CHAKRABARTI, ET Bureau | 26 May, 2014,

NEW DELHI: Even I am exhausted…the phone calls! And I am getting confused now. Like that phone call from Islamabad…Nawaz-bhai calling…I expected this was yet another party colleague asking for a ministry…so I said, without thinking…sorry, I can’t promise you a ministry.

The caller was confused… Narendra-bhai, this is Nawaz, I am coming over, the caller said…I recovered quickly, like I always do, and warmly congratulated Nawazbhai… but then Nawaz-bhai said…er, Narendra-bhai, about a ministry, if something happens, you know because I am coming over…you know…the boys from Rawalpindi… if they tell me you can’t come back… you think you will have a ministry for me…or what about chief minister of Punjab…didn’t NDA do badly in your Punjab… Is this my first diplomatic victory or is this my first diplomatic crisis? I have asked my core team to find out…meanwhile, I have assured Nawaz-bhai full cooperation.

Two extraordinary proposals from the cabinet secretariat…one, that all waves in India’s maritime zone should now be officially designated as Modi Waves and, two, all new car models launched after May 26 should be called Gujarat Models…is the bureaucracy really getting efficient? Must ask the core team to check this out as well…

A most puzzling phone call from Maneka…Narendra-bhai, she said, me and Varun, what are we getting… I told her nothing’s been decided…I can’t promise anything… she replied they must get something…it’s better, she said, that a Nehru-Gandhi mother and son duo be inside a government than outside it…look what happened to the previous government, she said…I have a mandate, I told Maneka…so did Manmohan, Maneka said.

Also, there was this terrible confusion about the Aruns…I took a call and said, Arun I want you as my FM…but it was the wrong Arun! But Amit-bhai assured me this is fine… Now, Narendra-bhai, he said, I’ll call the other Arun and tell  him you want him as your FM…Amit-bhai is right, of course. If both Aruns think they are in for FM’s job…there will be rivalry between two very talented people.

Amit-bhai also suggested I needn’t make either Arun FM…his suggestion is that I don’t make anyone DM, HM or EAM either… Ah! The Gujarat model…I am prime minister, finance minister, external affairs minister, defence minister and home minister…that means the only minister who’s a member of the cabinet committee on security is me…Amit-bhai tells me this will be much more efficient…no wasting time in CCS meetings…saving taxpayers’ money on four ministers… unified policy…no dealing with Sushma-ji complaining that this Arun or that Arun is in CCS but she isn’t…no elliptical remarks from Rajnath-ji about how he wants to dedicate himself to party work…you are going to run everything anyway, Amit-bhai said, why not just make it clear.

Hmm…may be in the 2019 sarkar…

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