He is regarded as unapproachable – and he revels in his reputation. Janata darbars are not for him.
Forget common people, even BJP MLAs and MPs do not have free access to his office. Appointments are granted only if there’s something important to discuss. He takes no calls from journos. He doesn’t carry a mobile phone.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s critics think the man is arrogance personified. The man’s admirers see it as a leonine style of functioning which gets results, and keeps distractions to a minimum.
Few Gujaratis are heard complaining he is inaccessible. Many are heard singing praises of the man who has boosted Gujarat’s growth rate above 10 per cent.
“What matters most are Modi’s achievements. He steered us successfully through difficult times, specially after the 2001 earthquake. Gujarat owes its economic boom to Narenbhai,” said Syed Khan, a baker on Ahmedabad’s Mirzapur Road.
Khan isn’t the only Muslim praising Modi. “Modi may not meet the public much, but there is no need for it,” said Rashid Hassan, Khan’s neighbour. “The administrative system runs so smoothly that every problem can be solved at lower levels.”
Small-time entreprenuer Ratanbhai Jadeja thinks Modi always looks so much in command that he represents the “true Gujarati spirit”.
A senior BJP leader blames the media for Modi’s aloof image. “He stopped the customary media briefings, so newspapers just stopped reporting on him.” The briefings were stopped because Modi “got tired of answering silly or personal questions,” the leader says.
“We see his aloofness as the trait of a disciplinarian. He has a no-nonsense attitude to everything, and makes it obvious,” says Yamal Vyas, BJP spokesperson.