Of 'shirtfront' and more: PM Narendra Modi's way with words

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Nov 25, 2014 13:39 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has regularly knocked his opponents down and put his ideas forward by coining new phrases, borrowed one such from the Australian Football League's rule book to add humour to his speech to Australian parliamentarians.

Australian PM Abbott made "shirtfront" a global concept when in October he threatened to do it to Russian leader Vladimir Putin at the G20 over the crisis in Ukraine.

Modi just took over. Let's sample a few of the acronyms, wordplay and numbers used by the PM:

Shirtfront: Modi used the term "shirtfront" to make fun of his host Abbott. A shirtfronter is an Australian rules term for a front-on challenge that knocks an opponent to the ground.

"(As) the third head of the government you are listening to this week, I do not know how you are doing this," Modi told members of parliament, who were addressed by Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Monday and Britain's David Cameron last Friday.

"Maybe this is Prime Minister Abbott's way of shirtfronting you!"

Modi admirers are aware of the Prime Minister's penchant for using words in an interesting way. Earlier, Modi had proved his way with words, coining several acronyms and catch phrases, and giving new meanings to well-known abbreviations. Here are some examples.

ABCD: Modi made use of ABCD for slamming the Congress party during an election rally in Punjab. It was "A for Adarsh, B for Bofors, C for coal scam."

NDA: Modi's take on the the BJP-led coalition 'NDA' was "National Development Alliance" during the 2014 general election campaign.

Make in India: Modi reached out to investors by saying "Come, Make in India", eyeing to make the country a manufacturing hub in his Independence Day speech and launched the campaign on September 25.

3Ss: Skill, scale and speed. He said the country needs to focus on imparting skills to its young population in order to compete with China. “If India has to compete with China, the focus should be on skill, scale and speed.”

5Ts: Tradition, Talent, Tourism, Trade and Technology. His government's intent to revive Brand India by riding on the country's strength of 5 Ts.

3Ds: Democracy, Demography and Demand. He reiterated it to Japanese investors saying India offers the three essential 'Ds' for businessmen.

No red tape but red carpet: He was hard-selling India as a manufacturing destination by promising investors saying "there is no red tape but red carpet in India. We have eased off a lot of regulations".

Inch towards Miles: He gave a new terminology to his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. "I call it ‘Inch towards Miles’. INCH is ‘India-China’, towards MILES is ‘Millennium of Exceptional Synergy’. I believe that tomorrow’s meeting will mark a happy beginning towards this goal of ‘Inch towards Miles’.”

G-All: Modi in his address at the UN General Assembly urged for creating a world with sustainable growth and the need for the world to become more united as nations.

"While we speak of an interdependent world, have we become more united as nations? Why can't we have a G-All grouping? Why is it that despite having a wonderful platform like the UN, we still operate in various Gs with different numbers?" said Modi.

"The names of groupings keep changing...G-5, G-7, G-20 and so on. India too is involved in several. But how much are we able to work together as G-1 or G-All? We need a G-All the most. We need to think how to create a G-all atmosphere when the UN is about to celebrate its 70 years," he said.

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