Now, politics over a NaMo cuppa

What’s technology got to do with a ‘cup of tea’. A lot perhaps! The BJPs prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi on Wednesday demonstrated just that.

He turned his ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ initiative into a unique mass contact programme with effective use of technology.

Taking centrestage at a tea stall in the western part of Ahmedabad, the Gujarat chief minister reached out to people in 1,000 locations across the country through satellite technology as he kicked off his much publicised and much awaited ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ campaign– a campaign to counter the chai wala barb of the Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar. Terming the tea stall the `footpath parliament', Modi didn't leave the opportunity to rake up his old mantra of good governance.

Enhancing the brand of Modi the tea seller in the past to BJP's prime ministerial candidate, he aimed at touching upon several sections of the society and ensured if need be he would sip cups of tea to ensure the discussion did not get diluted with non serious topics.

Starting his interactions with sips from a tea cup and with earphones in his ears, he engaged with people at tea stalls across the country.

 Modi decided that the topic of discussion of this first session would centre around good governance and with questions flowing in, it also boiled down to black money.  So while he connected with people across 300 cities, through satellite, DTH, mobile and internet–the focus area was with people primarily from cities in Uttar Pradesh and Kerala.

  While addressing the audience, he said tea stalls were like a footpath parliament. The organisers of the event, an NGO–the Central for Accountable Governance (CAG)–said that if  the chief minister could scale his idea of the tea-stall interaction the way he wants, he would be able to interact with two crore people, across the country.

Modi ensured that he drew a connect, so while he answered about bringing back black money to a youth from Thiruvanthapuram, he promised if his party was voted to power, 5-10% of the money would be given as gifts to regular and salaried tax payers.

He answered questions on issues of green energy and asked people to participate in energy production and conservation. The questions from youth from various cities of UP like Roorkee and Kanpur went on to the implementation of practicality in education and transparency in the employment especially for government sectors.

Giant TV screens were displayed at the venue of the tea stalls and the interaction was relayed live at 1,000 tea stalls in 300 cities.

The BJP plans about 12 to 15 such sessions and other top party leaders will participate, too.

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