The nagging drizzle and the untimely sting in the air notwithstanding, the so-called Modi Magic found an awestruck audience in Delhi.
The BJP’s ace campaigner emerged on the dais in a light-brown kurta and a packed Ajmal Khan Park hooted in a tizzy as if greeting a Bollywood icon or a famous cricketer.
Right from the word go, Modi was like the star performer he was expected to be, with the ‘V’ sign of the hand greeting the crowd, the swagger and the characteristic tongue-in-cheek digs one-liners— made famous by news television a few months ago during the Gujarat Assembly polls—evoking prompt responses from the crowd.
“I have no message for terrorists; I only have actions! Gujarat will never dance to the tunes of terrorists,” Modi hollered and thumped his fist, and the roar from the crowd was deafening.
While most of the crowd was made of people brought in by BJP local offices from all over the city, genuinely interested ones, too, showed up.
“This is like watching a performance. I had heard of Modi a lot but had never heard him speak. So I walked in,” said Sunil Kumar Das, a security guard at a showroom.
Many felt the speech was below par by Modi’s standards. “We had expected more drama and bit more fire. It has to be one of his ‘cold’ speeches,” said Rajkamal Raut, a student of Delhi University. What was clear was that in sheer star power, the likes of LK Advani, Arun Jaitley and BJP president Rajnath Singh were no match for Modi.
Minutes after him, when Rajnath Singh and Advani took the mike, it started drizzling and the seats were empty.