Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popular monthly radio programme ‘Mann ki Baat’, in which he shares his views on different themes and issues suggested by the people, completed one year on Saturday.
Modi kicked off the initiative, a first by any PM, on October 3 last year to reach out to a large section of people on the All India Radio (AIR) and have a direct conversation with them.
“This day, this time, last year, the first Mann Ki Baat programme was held, marking the start of a special journey. I thank you for enriching every Mann Ki Baat episode with your thoughts, inputs and anecdotes. They add life to the programme,” he tweeted.
To mark the anniversary, AIR announced a special radio show captioned ‘Mann Ki Baat: Ek Saal Jan Judao Ka’, which will be telecast on October 5. It has also planned a survey to gauge the programme’s impact.
In the first episode, Modi called upon people to buy Khadi to help the poor and also spoke on the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and India’s Mars mission success, apart from skill development and disabled children.
Of the 12th episodes aired till September 20, Modi co-hosted one with US President Barack Obama on January 27, during the American leader’s three-day visit to India. Obama too has a weekly broadcast on Saturday mornings to reach out to the American audience.
Modi has spoken his mind on a raft of issues so far -- from the contentious one rank-one pension to drug abuse, selfie with daughter, the declining child sex ratio and his flagship Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme.
In the 11th edition on August 30, Modi announced the controversial land acquisition ordinance would be allowed to lapse after the government failed to build a consensus on the issue in Parliament.
But the Congress has accused Modi of not speaking his “Mann ki Baat” on critical issues such as the rise in communal incidents and scams allegedly involving his ministerial and party colleagues.
“When the entire country wanted to hear from him on Lalitgate and Vyapam scam, about misdeeds of his colleagues which shut down Parliament, he chose to speak on thrills of rainy season and suggested people to eat pakoras,” party spokesman Tom Vadakkan said.
But the BJP is upbeat. “The success of this programme reflects Modi is a common man’s PM who would connect with them even on issues that are otherwise ignored,” BJP secretary Shrikant Sharma said.