Dehra Dun: What is the nattily dressed PM Modi wearing these days? A gamchha? The kind Yogendra Yadav wears in TV studios? That was PM Modi’s signature accessory on the International Yoga Day — a piece of coarsely woven cotton towel draped around his shoulders. Quite a contrast from, say, other cool accessories he has indulged himself in, including the trendiest of sunglasses and panama hats.
The humble ‘gamchha’ would make Arvind Kejriwal’s nondescript muffler — his trademark winter accessory — look surely downmarket. Rahul Gandhi had famously alleged that the NDA was a suit-boot ki sarkaar. But what will he now say about the PM’s new sartorial choice? Maybe, this is symptomatic of a government that is out to woo the distressed farmer.
Though, at a deeper, metaphysical level, it is also symbolic of a prime minister’s long journey from the Modi kurta to his classic monogrammed suit, the one that had his full name engraved in gold. And, now, he is completing a full circle with the ultimate gamcha! To that extent, Gandhi, in his customary kurta-pyjamas, is able to make a better impact on the hapless farmer, so long as he does not keep pulling up his sleeves. The gamcha is, after all, a poor farmer’s multi-purpose piece of cloth with which he wipes the sweat of his brow.
Nothing could be a better mascot for the BJP government in the 2019 general elections. Nothing could also be a better trademark for a man whose constant refrain is that he started out as a tea vendor! The gamcha could also symbolise the makeover of a party perceived to be pro-business to one that identifies with the working population. With that the BJP’s transition from the sublime to the mundane would be complete.