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At a tea-stall next time, just take a look around and you may spot Narendra Modi having a hot cup himself.
The NDA’s prime ministerial candidate — who doesn’t mind flaunting his Chaiwallah background — will unleash a mass contact program from February 12, engaging with people at tea shops across the country. Through Chai Pe Charcha (discussion over a cup of tea), Modi intends to reach out to nearly 20 million people across the nation.
“People in India have this habit of discussing politics over a cup of tea. We will get two TV sets installed at tea shops in 1,000 locations in 300 cities and have people interact with Modi and other BJP leaders. This is a first for our country,” senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said on Monday.
Each event will last two hours and will have three sections: share, ask and suggest – and will start with a 25-minute address by Modi.
On February 12, the Chai Pe Charcha event will be simultaneously held in 41 cities of Uttar Pradesh, 25 cities in Karnataka, 22 in Gujarat, 21 in Andhra Pradesh, 20 in Maharashtra, 19 each in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, 16 in Bihar and others.
The BJP plans to hold 10 to 12 phases of this event every five days.
Swaraj, who is a key face for the event, said there will be lively discussion before and after the event, “but people will ask question only during the event”. She added that all media tools will be exploited to make the event a success. The BJP sees this as a case of its grass root effort being supplemented with technology.
The Citizens for Accountable Governance, a group of Modi supporters, has conceived the idea. Prashant Kishore, a key Modi aide and former UN mission chief in Africa, is believed to be the driving force behind the group.