'David Cameron felt like a stranger in his own country'

'David Cameron felt like a stranger in his own country'

PTI file photo for representation.

Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday projected Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a statesman with “a massive bandwidth” of knowledge and experience unlike “the ordinary leaders” who are into “momentary politics” and can best think of making headlines next morning “with their Tweets.”

Jaitley's praise for the Prime Minister's “leadership qualities” and a veiled dig for the Opposition leaders came at an event to launch five volumes of Modi's select public speeches that he delivered since coming at the helm of affairs with the BJP's thumping victory in 2014 general election.

While lauding Modi for his leadership and “oratory skills,” Jaitley also sought to draw a parallel with several other eloquent speakers and well known leaders of India starting from Mahatma Gandhi, BR Ambedkar, Jagjivan Ram to Atal Bihari Vajpayee, saying Modi has left “a lasting impact” with his extempore public speeches “not only on the country but all over the world.”

“I asked David Cameron during an interaction with him once after he stepped down as British Prime Minister as to what was one mistake that he committed during his stint. I thought he would refer to Brexit or something else. But he told me that one fundamental mistake that he made was that he accompanied Modi to Wembley Stadium in London. I asked why and he said that when Modi began to speak, he (Cameron) felt like a stranger in his own country,” Jaitley said.

These five books, which run into thousands of pages, have been brought out by the Publications Division of the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) ministry.

Three of the five volumes of Modi's speeches, each titled 'Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas,' are in Hindi while the other two are in English. The books in Hindi have a total of 220 select speeches of Modi and the books compiled in English have a total of 155 speeches.

“Each of these volumes is categorized into five segments, covering prime minister's ideas on good governance; making India competent and efficient; hailing our bravehearts, annadata farmers and brilliant scientists; taking along people on an inclusive path of growth and hope; and sharing the message of a resurgent India with international community,” an I&B ministry official said.

At the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) nation executive committee meeting two months ago, Jaitley, who chairs his party's campaign and publicity committee, had said that nobody from the Opposition will be able to challenge the BJP's bid to power in 2019 if the Lok Sabha poll campaigns are set around Modi's leadership.

The BJP is projecting 2019 Lok Sabha polls as a battle in which entire Opposition leadership is "ganged up against one individual-Modi." The saffron party believes that such a projection puts Modi on a high pedestal in comparison to other Opposition leaders.