In Gujarat, the priming of a CM

Semi Column

His office will soon be moving into a new, swanky, high-security building near the present Secretariat called 'Panchamrut'. The insiders in Narendra Modi's administration have another name for it: 'North Block', to soon be followed by a 'South Block'.

That may just be pithy gossip. However, as the Gujarat CM positions himself for a national role, there are other hints that this third term in power is seeing a different Modi.

Since his re-election, the CMO has hosted a string of VIP visitors, from diplomats and entertainment and industry leaders, to even Congress's allies from down south. Earlier this month, a delegation led by Andhra Pradesh's Port and Infrastructure Minister Ganta Srinivas Rao, who belongs to the Praja Rajyam Party that is now a part of the Congress, met Modi. The delegation came to study the coastal development of Gujarat and Modi gave a view on how the Centre should shape its coastal policy.

Last week, from his office in Gandhinagar, Modi skyped with five European Union leaders and MPs, who were participating in a conference organised by the Art of Living at Bangalore run by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Going by Modi's blog post, we know that he has an invitation to attend the EU parliament session in November this year.

Officials who deal with Modi regularly say the CM is lately making an effort to connect more with the party. "Earlier he was more dominating and couldn't care less for MLAs. But now we see him hearing out party leaders and ministers," said a government official. Obviously, any support would be welcome in a move towards the Centre.

The CMO has become fussier about the events that Modi attends too. Some functions typically graced by the CM earlier in Ahmedabad are now seeing attendance by ministers.

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