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Modi Flew To Us Fully ‘Armed’ With Unique Sartorial ‘Weapons’

Updated: October 11, 2014 3:11 pm


He flew to the US for his maiden six-day visit, crammed with meetings with the US President; Narendra Modi took specially designed clothes to wear there. Obviously apart from political thrusts he is “armed” with exclusive clothes for a fashion assault on America.

The Time magazine declared Narendra Modi as a fashion icon, far ahead of its favourite Michelle Obama. Obviously, this would have weighed on his mind as he prepared for his US visit. He has two luncheon meetings with Barack Obama, meeting with Bill and Hillary Clinton, has to address the UN General Assembly, hold meetings with CEOs of top American companies and then address a record gathering of Indians and diplomats at Madison Square—normally the hunting ground of star celebrities. Naturally, Modi has had to think of what he would wear at these different occasions. His bandi, short-sleeve kurta have already become a fashion symbol. Most top retail shops are displaying Modi bandis and Modi kurtas. A believer in the best, a top Mumbai designer, Troy Costa, was hired to create the outfits that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will wear on his six-day visit to the US. The move to hire Costa, who designs for Bollywood stars, gave rise to speculation on whether Modi might adopt a suit and tie for his US visit.

He has often worn the Stetson hat of the West. Costa, defines his label as “focusing on modern masculinity and flattering functionality”, naturally declined to reveal the designs he has created for Modi. Gen Cariappa, the first Army Chief had once remarked, the more shabbily you are dressed the greater patriot you are thought of. A bit exaggerated, but it is true that except Nehru and some other leaders like Rafi Ahmed, Maulana Azad, most politicians least bothered about their outfits. A surfeit of pan-chewing, pot-bellied politicians floated around.

But fashion industry is happy that Modi, 64, has taken political dressing to a new level. “Apart from his trademark kurtas and tailored Nehru jackets, his use of colour makes him a fashion standout—from canary yellow, to lime green to sky-blue and the saffron of his party the BJP, and a lot of elegant cream.”

“He’s selling aspirational India,” said Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, author of one the few biographies on Mr Modi, adding that his affinity for traditional wear ties into his nationalist image.

How would he appear to the Americans? Commentators say that the PM is acutely aware of the image he wants to portray—a self-made man who hasn’t forgotten his roots. This would have an emotional appeal and gain him a lot of following.

GQ India editor Che Kurrien was quoted saying that Modi, who won his sweeping mandate in the May general elections with the support India’s young, upwardly mobile voters, has a “keen eye for what makes him look good”.

“It’s clear, details matter to Mr Modi, from his designer eyewear, to his watch, to his waistcoat—every part of his image counts,” Kurrien said. Troy Costa, like Modi, is a man from a humble background who pulled himself up by the bootstraps and does not smoke or drink and is a workaholic. He would know exactly what Modi would appreciate.

We now wait as to how much Modi succeeds in the US through his sartorial assault.

Ulta Pulta For Congress In Uttar Pradesh


How once a stronghold of the Congress and the base of the Nehru-Gandhi Dynasty, has almost become a graveyard for it? The state apart from sending all the three Prime Ministers from the Dynasty sent another three, not counting Charan Singh who never faced Parliament.

The continuing decline of the oldest political party of India in Uttar Pradesh is a disdainful reflection of the present heirs of the Dynasty. In the recent by-election for 11 assembly seats, the Congress candidates lost deposits in nine constituencies. Their vote share revolved around 1.5 per cent. In only one constituency its nominee got over seven per cent vote. It got fewer votes than it did in the 2012 Assembly election, raising a question mark over its revival in this politically sensitive state.

In the by-polls for the 11 Assembly seats, Congress candidates not only lost their deposits in nine constituencies, but they also faced the ignominy of ending up fourth, even behind the Peace Party and an independent candidate, in Bijnor and Rohania respectively. This happened when Mayawati did not contest the elections and it was believed that the Congress would be able to get some of the BSP votes. The voting pattern is clearly an indication that the Congress not only lost its base votes to Samajwadi Party and the BJP but also failed to win back Scheduled Caste support in the absence of BSP in the fray.

Senior leaders like the party’s general secretary Madhusudan Mistry, who is also in-charge of the party affairs in UP, have refused to accept the defeat saying party did not get enough time to prepare for the by-elections. Such favourites of Rahul Gandhi are indeed responsible for his catastrophic decline in his authority. The loyalty of Congressmen to the Family has been based on its ability to help them win. If the present members, the mother and son, continue to fail them, the two could find themselves abandoned. But Rahul has as yet not realised that he and his mother are on the brink—of losing their primacy in the party.

Some leaders like Beni Prasad Verma have had no hesitation in saying that the party lost because of selection of non-serious candidates. “Except for one or two candidates who took the elections seriously and fought with true spirit, all others lacked confidence. They only filed the nomination papers and did nothing to show that they could also win the election,” Verma said.

“The need of the hour is revival of the party and this can happen under a leader who has acceptance in all castes and religions and is also charismatic,” Verma said without elaborating. But his oblique reference raises big question which mark about the leadership crisis in the party. Interestingly, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are MPs from Rae Bareli and Amethi respectively but they did not take part in electioneering this time.

An analysis shows that the vote-share of the Congress in this by-poll has further declined since the 2012 Assembly elections. If the Scheduled Castes had actually voted in favour of SP, the indication is clear that at ground level the BSP and SP can come together – provided Mulayam and Mayawati bury the hatchet. Whether or not this will happen only time can tell.

The Congress, however, in UP, which has been and would continue to be, a political cauldron, is on the brink of becoming history. Not many tears would be shed.

Snipers Targeting Rahul


It was unthinkable until a year ago, Congressmen openly criticising their Prince. They could never have his darshan but the mere mention of his name chilled their spine. But what a metamorphosis post-General Election! The dissatisfaction and disappointment was whispered in private. But now it’s all in open. Sometime ago, a Punjab Congress leader gave unsolicited advice to the Mother and Son that they go on holiday for two years, and leave party affairs in others’ hands. A leader close to chief minister Oomen Chandy criticised Rahul’s statement poking fun at Modi—that he was beating drums in Japan while people are facing rising food prices.

It has made the top leaders wary and suspicious after the ruling faction in the Kerala unit targeted Rahul Gandhi over his political leadership as well. Their central managers are unable to fathom what made the Congressmen in the southern state train their ire at the Gandhi scion. At the meeting of the state unit (PCC), the leaders slammed Rahul’s steering of the party during the elections, faulting him for candidate selection to his campaign, albeit without naming him.

A few young leaders who swear by Rahul’s name were laughing at his sudden jetting to Singapore for F1 race. “We hope he stays back. Possibly the party might do better without his selection of candidates for Maharashtra and Haryana elections.”

Rahul, dark clouds are gathering and so is Twister, which uproots.

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